A concerned Bryanston resident has written a letter to the Sandton Chronicle about an alleged scam artist working in the Johannesburg North area:
On Sunday evening, 14 October, at approximately 8pm, our bell rang and there was a young coloured guy at the gate. As we don’t have an intercom we opened the front door to ask what he wanted. He started by saying that he lived in one of the houses on the street. He said his parents were in Swaziland at the moment that his parents said he should ask one of the neighbours for help.
He knew my name and the name of a female neighbour where he claimed to have lived, which gave his story credibility. He was visibly distressed and at the time had a bad gash on his left leg, which required stitches, and he was shivering as he was only dressed in shorts and a T-Shirt. He said that he had been out on quad bikes that day and he had taken his mom’s land cruiser without her consent which had since run out of diesel.
He needed some money for diesel or someone to tow his mom’s car so he could bring it back with the bikes. He was very convincing and started to cry which, together with his injury, we felt for the guy and let him onto the property and into our home to bandage his wound.
When inside we gave him a jersey and a soft drink to calm him down. In the meantime my wife got a dressing and bandages to attend to his wound. He continued saying how much trouble he was in and gave his parents’ names and said they were originally from Swaziland. He went by the name of Sentino du Pont. He gave us a number to call his parents in Swaziland which when we called, it just never connected. He claimed that they were maybe out of range.
After his wound was attended to, my wife called the neighbour to ask if his story checked out but the neighbour said that this seemed out of place as the property that he claimed to be living at had been vacant for three years.
It was at this point that we became extremely suspicious and to get him out of our house we gave him R200 and called an Uber to drop him off by Timber City in Randburg. The Uber subsequently dropped him off at 316 Kent Avenue, Randburg.
We then alerted neighbours and our security company who confirmed that a guy matching the same description and modus operandi had been operating in the Bryanston and surrounding areas.
So a few things we’ve learned:
Do not engage with this individual. Call your security company and the police and alert neighbours immediately.
He knows people’s names, observing movements of residents or goes through recycled refuse to gather intel. So don’t dispose of any personal information (empty medication containers, scripts, receipts, invoices, statements in your recycling or Pikitup refuse). These should be shredded and completely destroyed.
He is able to spin a very credible story and appeals to your willingness to help. Simply don’t! No matter whether he’s injured, crying or what he knows, even if these are intimate details about yourselves or neighbours; this is his way of gaining your trust, entering your property and invariably taking your money or possessions.
Alert neighbouring WhatsApp groups or whomever you can about this individual. The more people know about this type of scam the harder it will become to extort money.
Have you had a similar experience? Share your story with us on the Sandton Chronicle Facebook page