Warning to Sassa beneficiaries ahead of festive season

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), in the Western Cape has confirmed that they are solely responsible for the administration and management of social grants.

This comes in the wake of fraud cases being investigated at local police stations, concerning pensioners and child grant recipients being conned of their payments by fraudulent life insurance consultants.

“Sassa does not issue loans. That is not part of Sassa’s mandate,” said Shivani Wahab,
Sassa’s provincial senior communications and marketing manager.

With the festive season ahead, they have warned of people with sinister intentions targeting Sassa beneficiaries with the intention of cheating them through all sorts of scams. Social grant beneficiaries have been inundated with text messages urging them to obtain new cards which are green in colour before January 2017.

Ms Wahab said Sassa never communicates with its beneficiaries via SMS and beneficiaries are warned not to respond to any SMS.

Sassa has pointed out that there are no new Sassa cards and that it is not true that beneficiaries should get these cards before January 1 next year.

“Beneficiaries should be on the lookout for people requesting their personal and card details pretending to be from Sassa,” said Ms Wahab.

Sassa conducts its business from its own offices and beneficiaries should not accept invitations to any other office.

The second thing that beneficiaries should be aware of is that the Sassa card is not green in colour.

The only valid Sassa card has the colours of the South African flag.

Ms Wahab said the danger of responding to these scams is that beneficiaries could be stripped of their cash or unusual deductions which they never authorised would come off their grants in the near future.

Beneficiaries should make sure that they do not give their personal details or card details to strangers because it can also create identity theft.

If a social grant beneficiary is disputing giving authorisation for the loan then an affidavit stating he or she never gave consent nor requested the loan must be completed at the police station and submitted at a SASSA office, where the matter will be further investigated.

Beneficiaries should simply ignore these SMS message and if unsure, they should call SASSA on 080 060 1011 for enquiries.

The Western Cape department of Social Development (DSD) has also called on all social grant recipients to never divulge their social grant details or PIN numbers, whether telephonically or via email, to anybody claiming to be from Sassa.

This comes after Social Development MEC Alfred Fritz received tip-offs from the public regarding a scam involving a person falsely claiming to be an official from Sassa.

Sassa is a national entity run by the National Department of Social Development.

The provincial DSD has no operational control over Sassa.

The scammer claims to be offering a “R400 Sassa Christmas food hamper” in exchange for supposed “survey information”, which includes asking for the PIN numbers to Sassa cards of social grant recipients.

Any such incidents should be reported to the police, said Mr Fritz.

“We have also alerted officials from Sassa to this scam, and requested they launch an investigation into the matter too,” said Mr Fritz.

The public can report any suspected social grant fraud and corruption to the Sassa hotline or the DSD hotline on 080 022 0250.