Beware of Phoenix housing scam: Police

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 2, 2020

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Durban - KZN police have cautioned members of the public to not fall prey to a current housing scam. 

Police said they were investigating about 70 cases of fraud relating to this scam. 

According to police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala there is currently a trend of housing scams run by criminals in Phoenix and surrounding areas. 

"It is alleged that criminals would advertise houses for sale in local newspapers at bargain prices to attract people desperate to own homes," said Gwala. 

She said the modus operandi would include criminals providing contact numbers to people who want to buy houses and thereafter arrange for the viewing of the house with the “homeowners,” some of whom are also part of the scam. 

"The unsuspecting buyer would be instructed to sign an offer to purchase for houses that are not really on sale. 

"The banking details of a fake attorney would be provided for the purchaser to make a deposit. They may even be instructed to pay the full purchase price of the house into the account."

Gwala said the community is advised to verify the identity of estate agents. 

"There are more than 70 cases of fraud relating to this scam that are under investigation by the Provincial Commercial Crime Investigation Unit."

Anyone who is a victim of a similar crime or who knows of criminals who operate with the same modus operandi is urged to contact the investigating officers, Captain Singh on 082 458 5873 or Warrant Officer Ramdass on 083 735 5031.   

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