In the past two months, the Daily Voice has been contacted by five female victims, each of them targeted with the same modus operandi.
They say they were called by a “prison official” who knew their personal information and they were asked to transfer between R400 and R1 200 in exchange for the release.
Last week, a Heideveld woman said she paid R710 to secure her brother’s release from Pollsmoor Prison before realising she had been scammed.
The 46-year-old woman said she received a call from a Mr Wessels, who knew her ID number and home address, and said her brother could be released on a fine of R710, which she had to transfer via PEP.
She paid the kroon and waited for the phone call to inform her when they would be leaving the prison.
The confirmation never came and all calls to Mr Wessels went unanswered after that.
Meanwhile, four more women have come forward - two from Ottery and one from Mitchells Plain who each paid R500 each, and a Plumstead victim who lost R480.
In the most recent case, 37-year-old woman from Ocean View says she got a call from a Mr Adams to say she could pay R1 200 for her cousin’s release from Pollsmoor.
“Mr Adams had all my personal details and everything, and knew her mother had passed,” she explains.
However, she got suspicious and contacted the jail authorities, who said prison officials are not allowed to ask for the transfer of money.
DCS’ Rudi van Heerden confirmed their department is investigating this matter.
“The DCS wants to alert the community of Western Cape that there is a fraudulent scheme operating targeting family member of offenders,” he says.
“The fraudster contacts the family members requesting payment for services relating to placement on parole, clothes for release purposes, medical attention and transfers.
“The contacts are done via cellphone where the perpetrator poses as a Correctional official and payment of monies is instructed to be done through PEP or other money market establishments.
“Payments from R350-R1 000 have been requested for the services, which never materialises.”
He urges people to alert DCS or SAPS should they be approached.