- Panic-buying, voluntary self-isolation and other fears have settled into South African homes
- The coronavirus has brought out both the best and the worst in citizens
- Briefly.co.za explores a new criminal syndicate that is taking advantage of the situation
As resilient as South African citizens are, it seems criminals are just as determined.
The recent declaration of a national disaster due to the coronavirus pandemic has been seen as an opportunity by crooks.
Briefly.co.za discovered that the South African Reserve Bank was forced to warn the public about a scam that has emerged.
Criminals were reportedly going to houses claiming to be representatives of the SARB, demanding cash should be handed over and claiming it had been contaminated.
This prompted the bank to clarify that it was not removing money from public distribution:
“These criminal elements carry fake SARB identification and provide false receipts in lieu of the banknotes ‘collected’, which they purport can be collected from any of the banks. The SARB has neither withdrawn any banknotes or coins nor issued any instruction to hand in banknotes or coins that may be contaminated with the virus."
The SARB explained that under no circumstances, ever, would it send out employees to collect funds from citizens:
“If members of the public are approached by individuals purporting to be SARB employees or representatives to hand in their cash, they should refuse and contact local police.”
In addition to this, the bank put forward that there was no proof the coronavirus could be transmitted through this method.
Nevertheless, the virus is highly contagious and it is advisable to practice good hygiene and wash hands after handling money.
On Monday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed that the number of positive cases had increased to 62, with more expected to be confirmed pending testing.
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