Pensioner conned by fake City official

A woman posing as a City official scammed a pensioner in Lentegeur.

A Lentegeur pensioner was taken from her home and had more than R9 000 spent on her store account cards after a woman posing as a City of Cape Town official entered her home.

The woman knocked at the door of Aeysha van Schalkwyk, 70, last Tuesday, August 25, claiming to be a municipal worker, who had been sent to complete a rates rebate application.

According to the pensioner’s daughter, Nashma Abrahams, the woman did not show any identification but showed her mother’s municipal details.

“My mother is elderly and had a stroke and could barely walk. I offered to go with my mom but the woman said it was not necessary.

“She told my mother to take her identity document and shop credit cards so they can block her accounts,” she said.

Ms Abrahams said: “We just want to alert other elderly people.”

The woman imposter and the driver, wearing a blue pants and jersey with what looked like City insignia, drove off with Ms Van Schalkwyk in a white VW Polo Vivo.

Meanwhile, Ms Abrahams ran to the sub-council office to ask whether municipal workers were doing their rounds.

Goawa Timm, councillor for Ward 76, said the council would never operate like this.

Within an hour of leaving, the old woman returned home disorientated.

Her daughter said she had been taken to Vangate Mall where the woman was taken to shops to spend about R5 300 on her store cards.

“They also wanted my mother’s Sassa card, which she had left at home,” she said.

Later on they received information that about R4 000 was spent at a clothing store at N1 City.

They subsequently blocked the cards.

Lentegeur police station spokeswoman Constable Felica Adams confirmed that they were investigating a case of fraud.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson and mayoral committee member for finance said the City was aware of this scam and warned that no municipal workers were assigned to perform door-to-door rates rebates applications for pensioners.

“We encourage residents to report suspicious behaviour to the South African Police Service,” he said.

Mr Neilson said they could not assume where the criminals would find municipal information.

“All municipal workers and contractors are obligated to carry a work order number specific to that dwelling and a City-issued identification card,” he said.

Residents are advised to check the official identification card before allowing anyone onto their property.

The identification card must display the City logo, the name and surname of the staff member or mandated contractor, and must contain an embedded photo of the staff member or mandated contractor.

“Residents should not allow anyone onto their premises until they have verified these details,” he said.

Any suspicious behaviour must be reported to the City’s law enforcement agencies on 021 480 7700 or the South African Police Service (10111).

Members of the public can verify whether visitors to their home are employed by the City by: phoning the call centre on 086 010 3089 to confirm whether work is being carried out in their area; and inform the official that they will allow them entry only once the call centre has verified their identity.