World Cup scam exposed

Spokesperson for the South African Police Service (SAPS) Phuti Setati said that scam letters and emails, which originate from “within and outside the borders of the country”, surfaced around the first quarter of this year.

“Up to so far we have heard numerous victims. However we need to warn people so that they don’t fall prey to such scams,” said Setati.

Explaining the modus operandi of the scam dubbed ‘419 Scam’, Phuti Setati said potential victims were notified via e-mail that they had won the lottery, furnished with a certificate confirming the prize and then asked to fill an on-line form to claim the winnings, and thus unknowingly disclosing their personal details.

“. . . Thereafter the victim will be informed of a procedure to claim the cash and as part of the procedure an upfront fee will be requested, before the rest of the cash is released,” he said.

He reiterated that before participating in any lottery game in any of the regional countries, people must take note of the fact that the Lottery in South Africa is governed by the Lotteries Act 57 of 1997. Section 2 of the Act which provides for the establishment of the National Lotteries Board, which is the only statutory body charged with regulating the operation of the national Lottery in South Africa.

“In South Africa only one license has been issued authorizing a person to conduct the National Lottery. This license has been issued to Uthingo Management (Pty) Ltd. In other words, only Uthingo is permitted to run Lottery promotions in South Africa. However, there are bogus agencies who call you and tell you have won a huge sum of cash as part of the World Cup organising committee’s promotions. They then request you to give in all your bank details and other relevant particulars after which they will ask you to pay an administration fee that will cover your security, tax and other clearance fees especially if you are not in South Africa. The crooks are milking a lot of people.”

Currently Uthingo Management offers three products/games, namely, Lotto, Wina Manje Scratch Card and Sports Take. The National Lottery outlet is South Africa; Uthingo does not extend gaming opportunities to other countries.

Setati told The Southern Times that the scam will go even to countries that do not have lottery games. “The perpetrators are purporting to be from the Local Organising Committee for 2010(Loc) and have even duplicated the World Cup logo which they can email to an individual and claim that your name has been picked up on the internet. You are promised a lot of things, of which, they will vanish when you have given them your particulars. In some instances, someone will come and claim that he knows these people and will help you trace them, at a fee, which will all be a hoax.”

The South African police urged any person who might have received any form of correspondence to participate in a game of some sort promising to large pay-outs to contact 0027-12 401-3345 or 0027-12 393-1203, during office hours.

November 2006
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