Watch out for the Sars scam

Watch out for fraudsters who rob people by pretending they have erroneously deposited money into their prey's bank account.

Watch out for fraudsters who rob people by pretending they have erroneously deposited money into their prey's bank account.

Had Ingrid Going of Cape Town not been sharp, she would have reversed R82000 to a fraudster's account.

Going's e-mail about her plight says she received a phone call two weeks ago from a man pretending to work for the South African Revenue Services (Sars).

The caller wanted to verify her banking details because, he said, Sars wanted to deposit a VAT refund in her account.

Going, never having received a refund before, was so excited that she readily gave the caller her banking details.

"A week later I received notification on my cellphone of a R82000 deposit into my Absa account," Going says.

"I could not work out who had deposited the money because there was only the reference 'J002' and Absa's notifications usually identify a depositor."

Later on the same day she got a call from John Ndlovu "of Sars", saying that they had erroneously deposited R82000 into her account and that they needed her to reverse payment because it should have gone to TLB Towers.

Ndlovu faxed a convincing Sars-looking letter to her with their Absa banking details.

Going accessed her Internet banking to reverse the money. But as she was about to transfer the money her sixth sense kicked in.

"I decided to print out a bank statement and noticed that the R82000 was in my account - but was 'uncleared'.

"My gut feeling told me I should not reverse the money and wait until morning so that I could call my bank."

The next morning Absa could not identify the depositor. The bank's fraud division said it would investigate.

Absa has confirmed the scam, saying that it was a personal account with no funds.

Ndlovu, who has a foreign accent, told Sowetan he worked for Sars and was not running a scam.

Sars says the scam has been running for three years and warned people to be alert.

X