Most of you reading this post are probably familiar with the workings of a Fake Deposit Scam. There are many variations of this scam. Some scammers make use of false cheque payments, other con artists prefer fake SMS payments while the rest of the fraudsters still opt to use the old school method of faking banking deposit slips.
The Junk Mail Team thought that it would be a good idea to revisit this scam for your safety. Recently, a concerned Junk Mail user gave us insight into how they were defrauded by a Fake Deposit Scam. The Junk Mail user (who has chosen to remain anonymous) lost the item they advertised and a considerable amount of money. For the sake of user friendliness on this post, the anonymous Junk Mail user will be referred to as “Suzie”.
This is a full account of the Scam:
In the beginning of March Suzie advertised a bedroom suite for R6000 on Junk Mail. On the 6thMarch a man by the name of Harry Maake responded to the Suzie’s advert. The user received an e-mail from the potential buyer. He gave his contact details as the following: email@example.com, 0791871179.
Suzie called him and he said that she should provide him with her banking details and that a courier would pick up the goods as soon as the money was cleared. He said that he was buying the bed for his son in Johannesburg. Having a strange gut feeling she ignored it. That same evening at 17:04, a man by the name of Tom SMS’ d her to asked if the bed was still available. She still had a strange feeling but called him. He gave her the same story as “Harry”. On the morning of the 7th Tom called again asking for her banking details. She was reluctant but thought that she was just being cynical. She opted to give him her email address and her banking details. “Tom” did not respond all day. She called the number most of the day and either got the phone off or a lady’s voice message.
Suzie received a SMS from Nedbank indicating that Tom Khumalo had paid R6000.00 into the account. Around 16:00 on the 7th of March, Tom called to say that the money was deposited. She called the bank to verify. They indicated that there was no money paid in. He called saying the money was in and that I should provide the address. She refused and indicated that she verified with the bank. Tom was upset and said that the money would clear the next day.
On the 8th Mar 2012 he kept on calling continuously in the afternoon. At 15:35 he sent Suzie another message saying “payment in”. She went to the ATM and saw the funds there but it reflected as uncleared funds. She SMS’d him to say that he could pick up the goods. She admits now that it was her fault for not following her gut and allowing the goods to be picked up before the funds had cleared. At 17:00 prompt the driver was at Suzie’s home to pick up the goods. Suzie had forgotten to give them the manual on how to assemble the bed. She called the driver to turn back. Tom called to say that he would meet me in a mall to pick up the manual.
On the 9th of March she tried to scan the manual into the PC in case Tom needed help. On the evening of the 9th March, Tom called telling Suzie that his PA had deposited R16,000 in error into the account and asked if she could please reverse the transaction. She went to the ATM again to check. Again there was uncleared funds of R16,000 in the account. Tom kept on calling her every 30 minutes to ask if she could transfer the funds either via internet or Shoprite to his account. He never provided banking details. He said that he owed a customer money and was going to be in big trouble if the money was not returned. He even asked if she could just at least transfer R5,000 into his account. She did not take any action.
On the morning of the 10th, Suzie SMS’d him to ask for an account number to return the funds to. He provided the following details – Account holder name: Linky Maesela, Account type: Savings, Bank: Nedbank, Account Number: 1020528672. Suzie then went into Standard Bank to enquire about this story. The lady at the bank verified that both the R6000 and the R16000 were cheque deposits at the Southgate shopping mall in Johannesburg. Tom had lied to her about doing internet transfers. The bank suggested that she report it to the SAPS, as there were many people complaining about the same issue. She said that fraudsters are printing their own cheques or stealing them to con users.
Tom called again and Suzie asked him why he lied. He was rude and just said that the funds will clear, then hung up. She never heard from him again. On Sunday the 11th March the R16,000 was reversed from the account, leaving only the R6000. Suzie asked the bank to block the account as she was not going to be responsible for the costs of the abuse. The bank suggested that she first wait for the cheque to clear. On the 14th of March 2012, Suzie checked the account and the R6,000 had been reversed.
Suzie was robbed. When she called the number, the phone went to voice mail, or it said that she had phoned the wrong number. Tom had called from the following numbers: 078 102 8005 and 083 409 2043. The drivers number is: 078 683 8162.
How to Avoid This Scam:
Take note of the Scam Warnings that have been posted on the Junk Mail Help Site on the Safety and Security page. The golden rule is not to let the goods go to the potential buyer unless you are 100% sure that the funds deposited into your account are available for your use. If something sounds to good to be true, be cautious. If the person who wants to purchase your item communicates with you in broken English or claims to be of high stature, be cautious.
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