The Hawks have warned members of the public not to accept money in exchange for opening accounts for other people.
“The Hawks have of late detected a trend in which people receive money in order to open bank accounts for people they do not even know.
“Investigations have revealed that most people have become the subjects of investigations after their accounts were found to have been used to either receive or transfer money, which has been defrauded from other victims,” said the South African Police Service’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) on Tuesday.
Hawks investigations reveal that individuals agree to open bank accounts and there after hand over the bank card to the person who requested them to open the account.
“The Hawks are issuing a stern warning to people who open bank accounts not to give their cards and pin numbers to anyone, or risk becoming accomplices to various crimes,” said the Hawks.
Over 55 suspects, most of them Nigerian nationals, have so far been arrested for crimes varying from internet fraud, phishing and sim swap fraud. The account numbers used by these suspects to transfer money were found to have been legally opened by South Africans, who voluntarily handed over their cards and pin numbers for a fee.
Online dating has also become another method criminals use to defraud unsuspecting women. The Hawks said those who visit these sites must not deposit or transfer any money without verifying if they are chatting with a fraudster or a potential companion.
Two women have recently been defrauded of R900 000 and R170 000 respectively by Nigerian fraudsters who posed as suitors from Belgium and Scotland.