No such thing as cheap electricity

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GK CRONJE

24 November 2020

Reports have also been noted of scammers who tamper and modify existing, but already spent electrical tokens, altering the unit amounts and prices.

If you have ever scrolled through your Facebook feed, or received a chain message on WhatsApp, stating that you can purchase 1000 units of prepaid electricity for a dubiously low price, be aware that this is a scam. Many of these operations have been noted in Mpumalanga, and are perpetrated by individuals who take advantage of vulnerable and gullible residents, including the elderly. A slew of complaints have been lodged with Eskom, regarding fraudsters duping individuals and businesses into paying for this “cheap electricity” through electronic funds transfers such as eWallet and money market. Thereafter, the scammers disappear, and leave the customers destitute and out of pocket. Reports have also been noted of scammers who tamper and modify existing, but already spent electrical tokens, altering the unit amounts and prices.

When the token is sent to the buyer via WhatsApp, the code to be read into the meter is non-working, and its validity has been compromised, as it has already been used in a registered meter. Complaints have surfaced of duped customers who have received exact copies of the same token, only with the date and location fraudulently altered. “Eskom is working with several law enforcement agencies to trace and prosecute these unscrupulous individuals. We want to urge the members of public not to fall prey to these crooks, but to report these acts of fraud to the police without delay. We urge anyone who comes across this criminality to report these acts of fraud to the police.” said Eskom’s General Manager for Security, Advocate Karen Pillay.

Eskom pleads with the public not to fall prey to these scams. Cooperation with the law enforcement agencies has already resulted in some arrests, and prosecutions are ongoing in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga, Eskom said. Eskom hereby cautions customers to refrain from falling prey to these scams, and to purchase their prepaid electricity vouchers from the registered Eskom vendors. Customers can anonymously report illegal activities to the toll-free Eskom reporting line 0800 11 27 22.

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