Increase in fraud cases

Bellville police have seen an increase in fraud cases being reported relating to online classified ad sites.

Bellville police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Henrietta van Niekerk advises the public to take the following precautions:

* Do not send an item before confirming your bank has cleared the buyer’s payment.

* Don’t send money before seeing the item. Make sure your purchase is real and in the promised condition.

* Don’t pay rental deposits without verifying the property is owned by the person offering it. Preferably, inspect the property (or get someone you know to do it for you) and meet the landlord.

* Ask for cellphone numbers and email addresses, and check they work.

* Don’t be rushed: if the seller or buyer is pressurising you in any way, then be suspicious. Rather let the deal go than rush into a potential scam.

* Never release your banking details. When using online banking, use a secure connection with a padlock setting in your browser.

* Stay informed by checking online news portals and your community newspaper.

* Always take a friend along when meeting an online contact in person; preferably meet at a busy shopping mall or police station.