Two arrested in 419 scam

Johannesburg - Two people have been arrested in Johannesburg for allegedly defrauding a US citizen of over R200,000 in a suspected 419 scam.

According to Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko, a 44-year-old Nigerian man and a 20-year-old South African woman were arrested in Sandton on Friday afternoon.

The Nigerian is believed to be married to a South African woman, and the 20-year-old is believed to be his step-daughter.

The victim, a  48-year-old man, was apparently looking for business opportunities when he met the Nigerian man on an online professional network.

The US man arrived in South Africa on March 18 to proceed with the businesss deal.

He gave the two accomplices money at a meeting in his hotel room.

His business partners in Canada and the USA transfered money to the pair via Western Union.

He suspected he was the victim of a scam and alerted police on Wednesday.

He was unable to leave the country because he had no more money left.

The two were charged with advance fee fraud, also referred to as a 419 scam.

The number 419 refers to the Nigerian criminal code that deals with fraud.

Victims usually receive e-mails claiming that for their assistance of providing a small fee to access a large sum of money, a handsome reward would be paid.

According to the SAPS website, this is currently the world's largest scam in terms of monetary losses.

"We believe this is the tip of the iceberg. It is part of a bigger syndicate," Ramaloko said.

The two are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Commercial Crime Court soon.

 

 

- Sapa

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