Pensioner caught in bill swindle
Bogus City Power pair strikes
PENSIONERS and other vulnerable residents who are in arrears or have high bills with City Power should beware of fraudsters posing as officials offering them “deals”.
An 83-year old Elton Hill, Joburg, resident who asked not to be named revealed he was caught out by two fraudsters last month.
“I was not behind with my payments, but got a high bill of R13 000 for November because the meter had not been read.
“I got a call from someone at City Power who said they noticed my account was very high. He said they would like to come to chat to me,” he said.
The two men who came to speak to the pensioner were smartly dressed and smooth-tongued.
“They knew all our details, including ages and ID numbers and the account number. They were charming and even spoke about their own families,” he said.
They then told him that he was paying too much and should convert to a smart meter as it would work out cheaper, and he should qualify for a pensioners’ rebate of 40 percent off the R13 000 owing.
“They wanted a cheque of R11 000 for the smart meter, another for R1 800 to assist with the pension rebate and one for R750 for registration, which I very stupidly handed over.
“They were such pleasant fellows, and they knew all my details, so I didn’t have any reason to doubt them,” he said.
They promised to return to install the new meters, and, of course, they didn’t.
But not all is lost yet for this pensioner as he went to the bank where the cheques were cashed and the bank had the one suspect’s ID number on record.
“I hired a private investigator who has confirmed the ID number is correct and he has now located some family members. We will eventually get them, but people should take a lesson from this and never hand over money to strangers,” he said.
This appears to be a new modus operandi as, in the past, fraudsters have threatened to cut off power to those in arrears.
City Power and the City of Joburg often warn residents never to hand over money to anyone asking for it to reconnect electricity, purchase meters or pay rates.
Customers should only make payments at the City of Joburg customer walk-in centres or at the utility’s offices.
Customers should never make any cash or electronic payments to any City Power official or contractor at their property, said City Power spokesperson Yumna Sheik.
Operation Clean-Up was launched last year, led by the utility’s board chairperson Frank Chikane, to encourage customers to report criminal incidents or corruption by officials and contractors of City Power.
People can report incidents of fraud and corruption or any suspicious officials to the tip-offs anonymous hotline 0800 002 587 or email anti email@example.com
SCAMMED: An 83-year-old man, who asked to remain anonymous, was swindled by bogus City Power officials who came to his home in Elton Hill, Joburg.