Women conned out of money by online ad scam

At least three women were scammed out of R500 last week after responding to an online recruitment ad for a domestic worker.

And a fourth woman would’ve fallen prey to the same scam had it not been for employees at a city centre store, who had warned her and tried to track down the con-artist.

The employees who do not want their names or the name of the store published because they fear for their safety, said three women had walked into the store in Darling Street and vented about having been conned.

While the women could not be tracked down by the time this edition went to print, one of the store employees related what the women had told to her.

She said the women who responded to the job advertisement had been asked to meet the employers in Darling Street, where they were picked up in a white car. The women told her they were then transported to an unknown place, where a man came out, took their money, and said he would return with application forms. The man never came back.

“The women said they had waited two hours and the man never came. They decided to leave and came to the shop and told us what happened.”

Last Thursday, another woman waiting at the spot near the store, chatted to one of the employees about the job application. They informed the woman about the scam and tried to call the number, which had been off since the calls.

The Kraaifontein woman showed Northern News the details of the advertisement, and the contents of a WhatsApp conversation between herself and the conmen.

The advert is for a “housekeeping job” in the city centre and people responding are asked to call or WhatsApp the company at the number provided on the ad.

The company operates under the name International Nanny Association, a company based in Georgia, America.

The advert is for a job at the company’s Cape Town offices, even though International Nanny Association appears to have no such office.

“I sent a WhatsApp message to the contact on the advert, and a person responded saying her name is Cecelia, from International Nanny Association offices in Cape Town.

“She said to meet her in Darling Street with my passport or ID and R500 registration fee.”

She said that on the day, she had got lost. Cecilia had told her not to be late, and that she would wait for her in a white BMW.

“When I found the place, I waited and spoke to the ladies at the store, and they told me women had been coming here for a job and then come back a few hours later saying their money had been taken.”

She said the employees of the store then called the number, which rang but was not answered. The phone was then switched off.

When Northern News attempted to call the number, it went straight to voicemail.

The Kraaifontein resident said she went to the Cape Town Central police station to open a case, but was told that she couldn’t because no money had been taken from her.

Cape Town Central police spokesman Captain Ezra October said the police were aware of the advert, and had contacted the complainant to arrange to meet. He said while there were other similar scams, the modus operandi changed from person to person.

“Unfortunately, this incident was not reported to the Cape Town Central Police by the complainant, but we would like to encourage her to come forward and report the matter.”

He said anyone with information about the scam can contact to contact Saps Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or Cape Town Central Police operations room at 021 467 8006/7 – 24/7. The information will remain anonymous.

The Northern News emailed questions to the International Nanny Association, but by the time this edition went to print, the company had not responded.