The SAPS Stock Theft Unit in KZN is warning livestock owners to be aware of a modus operandi being used by stock thieves.
In a statement released by provincial police, it indicated that criminals are now targeting livestock owners, who had fallen prey to stock thieves, by informing them that they had found and recovered their stolen livestock.
“They pretend to be police officers from the Stock Theft Unit from other provinces investigating their cases. They then inform the victim that their livestock has been recovered at another province but they have to deposit a certain amount of cash so that their livestock can be transported back home,” said provincial police spokeswoman, Col Thembeka Mbhele.
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Criminals are demanding amounts from R2000 upwards.
She added, “Police are cautioning livestock owners not to fall prey to this scam. Please note that the police will never request cash from a victim. Stock theft investigators will in fact assist victims and would transport them to view the recovered livestock.”
All victims of stock theft are advised to make contact with their investigating officers as soon as they have opened a stock theft case.
If they have been contacted by these criminals, they are advised to immediately contact the nearest police station or their investigating officer.
“Familiarise yourselves with detectives investigating your cases and do not fall prey to these fraudsters. When receiving such calls or text messages, please ask the caller for the brand mark of your recovered livestock as well as their contact details and then contact police immediately,” she advised.
Information such as the following could assist to identify fraudsters:
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The cell number of the person who called.
The date and time of the call.
The name and surname of the person who called.
An address where the livestock could be viewed.
The account number of the account into which the money should be paid and the account holder name.
An e-mail address or other cell number where confirmation of payment should be forwarded.
“We would also like to warn all livestock owners to be cautious and very careful during this time of year, as these scams are once again active in the province, especially during the festive season,” added Col Mbhele.