Woman, 92, conned out of R65 000 pen­sion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

THE HEART­LESS thieves who have been tar­get­ing pen­sion­ers in var­i­ous Joburg sub­urbs have struck again.

This time they conned a 92-year-old Melville woman, who is a lit­tle se­nile, de­fraud­ing her of R65 000.

The scam would have con­tin­ued if she hadn’t run out of cheques, be­cause it was only then that the crime was un­cov­ered.

The woman’s in­fu­ri­ated daugh­ter said: “My mom’s helper, who is my helper’s daugh­ter, alerted me that these two men took her to Cresta to or­der a new cheque­book.

“They ar­ranged with the bank that her helper be au­tho­rised to col­lect it. The men made ar­range­ments to take her there and back to col­lect it,” she said.

The daugh­ter de­scribed the men as psy­chopaths.

Her mother lives alone in a semi, and the men told her they got hold of her phone num­ber from a data­base of phone num­bers.

“She is deaf and didn’t un­der­stand what they wanted. They vis­ited her three times and got her to sign cheques for dif­fer­ent amounts to­talling R65 000. I was ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated when I heard. I rushed over and tried to get my mother to tell me what had hap­pened,” she said.

While there, the phone rang and she an­swered. It was one of the fraud­sters, and he asked to speak to her mother.

“He had the cheek to ask whether the cheque­book had been col­lected. I was so up­set, I started yelling at him.

“He replied say­ing my mother had signed the form; she was not forced to.

“I begged the caller to re­turn the money, ex­plain­ing she was se­nile, deaf and hadn’t un­der­stood. I gave him my cell­phone num­ber, and that even­ing one of them called me from a phone with no caller ID.

“He was com­pas­sion­ate and promised to re­fund the money, but that was the last I heard from him. They are psy­chopaths and need to be pun­ished,” she said.

As in pre­vi­ous scams, the men used fake pa­pers say­ing they were from a com­pany called Global En­ergy. The com­pany doesn’t ex­ist.

They also left an elec­tri­cal gad­get for the woman.

The Star has re­ceived five sim­i­lar com­plaints. The Cleve­land po­lice say there have been many more.

The men, who use the names Carl and Colin Naidoo, are said to be con­vinc­ing, well dressed and well spo­ken.

The other cases were re­ported in Kens­ing­ton, Malvern and El­ton Hill.

A woman was de­frauded of R10 000 by the same men calling them­selves by the same names. The modus operandi was the same with them of­fer­ing to put in new me­ters, promis­ing a 40% dis­count on the monthly charges. They are con­vinc­ing be­cause they ar­rive at pen­sion­ers’ houses armed with all the pen­sion­ers; per­sonal de­tails, such as IDs and copies of their util­ity bills.

They ask ques­tions about the per­son’s in­come, promis­ing them a pen­sioner re­bate. In that way they were able to de­ter­mine how much money the pen­sion­ers have avail­able.

In one case, a cou­ple re­ceived only a govern­ment grant and said they were un­able to pay.

They handed over their last R400, which was a Christ­mas gift from their chil­dren.

The Cleve­land po­lice said four cases had been opened, and many more re­ported but not pur­sued be­cause no money had been ex­changed.

Cap­tain Jo­han Jor­daan said all the in­ci­dents in­volved an In­dian and coloured male.

“Res­i­dents should phone the city coun­cil and en­quire about such peo­ple. They can also phone Cleve­land po­lice sta­tion. Any­one else who has been de­frauded should open a case at their clos­est po­lice sta­tion,” he said.

The psy­chopaths need to be pun­ished

The elec­tri­cal gad­get the two men left at the Melville pen­sioner’s house, claim­ing it would sub­stan­tially re­duce the elec­tric­ity bill.

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