SMS Payment Confirmation Scam Warning

Junk Mail has been around for almost 20 years. Over the years we have brought thousands of buyers and sellers together. One of our aims has always been to ensure that our users are informed and aware of various scams that are out there.

A few years ago the Wireless Application Service Providers (WASPA) made the Junk Mail team aware of a SMS scam targeting second-hand goods sellers. This scam is a version of the Advance Fee Fraud Scams (or 419 scams).

How this scam works

A scammer will pose as a potential buyer and offer to buy goods from second-hand sellers. They’ll use a commercial SMS messaging service to send the seller an apparent legitimate confirmation that they have deposited money for the goods into the sellers’ bank account. They will then insist on taking goods from the seller (who will soon discover that no deposit was made into his / her bank account).

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for scammers to create and send an SMS that is a convincing replica of the ones a banking institutions might send when someone makes a deposit into your account. This scam targets people selling goods in newspaper classifieds or via online services (like Junk Mail and other classifieds websites). The scammers operate mostly on the weekends and in the evenings.

How to avoid being a victim of this scam

If you are selling an item and a potential buyer behaves like this, do not release the goods you are selling until you see the deposit reflected in your bank account when you look at your statements online or using cellphone banking. The best way is to make sure that you have the cash in hand / that the funds deposited are available for your use before you release any goods you have for sale.

WASPA and its members have been taking a proactive approach to fighting this abuse of commercial SMS messaging platforms. Any member of the public who has fallen prey to such a scam is urged to immediately report the matter at the nearest police station where they will be able to open a case.

If you have been a victim of / subjected to this scam you are welcome report the person you’ve dealt with to us. Contact our Customer Care department on 012-3423840 x2295 or E-mail us a report of what happened to ccc@junkmail.co.za

You might also want to check out these posts about scams for more useful information:

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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213 Responses

  1. Lourens says:

    I Almost got scammed by Darren Khosa, he told me he did a payment but I didn’t want to send my parcel till I saw the money in my account but he was SO persistent he sent me his ID, 2 proof of payments and company details. I was very suspect about the deal so I phoned absa and I tried to make sure it was not a scam but he had a clever answer for everything and he told me to send it via bus parcel “courier” then I said no the he even told me to give it to a taxi driver and then told me to give it to a random truck driver when he didn’t succeed in getting me to give it to them and I refused then he yelled at me and told me how I am stealing his money and going crazy. Be careful

  2. Charlotte says:

    I have been scammed by a very close friend of mine, she owed me money and sent me a fake sms and proof of payment,She also stole my ID and opened accounts in my name. i want to know how do these people send these fake sms that look real.

    • Hi Charlotte,

      Sorry to hear you’ve been scammed! It makes it even worse if it was done by someone you know, nevermind a close friend! Unfortunately all they need is to have an sms template of your account and a bulk SMS number.

  3. gift says:

    Hi. A guy by the name of Patrick Baloyi. He was meant to be buying a fridge from me and preferred to use a transfer method. His number is 0734991044. PATRICK
    He used a ABSA notice payment method showing an amount of R9500.00 deposited.

  4. Adri says:

    We almost got scammed this week lucky we refused to let the goods go until payment reflects in our bAnk account

  5. KB says:

    A guy who calls himself Deon Zwane, using the number 0726582870 tried to scam me as well, I posted an ad on Gumtree and OLX and within minutes I get an email from him saying he wants to buy my goods, the thing I found strange was him asking me if I am selling anything else because he wants to buy… But i ignored that, then I recieved an sms from an unknown number saying an amount of R3600 has been deposited into my account, the sms seems legit, but upon observing it, I realised that something does not add up. We really need to be careful of these people guys, always ask for cash on delivery, because no one in their right minds will transfer money to someone that they dont know, and arent certain the person will even pitch.

  6. BRUNO says:

    one of my sales assistant released goods after receiving a proof of payment (ABSA facked. the goods were delivered and the guy confirmed the receipt. he was using the name Emmanuel Lunga pretending to be a customer (trading as ATMEI CONSTRUCTION). The money to a value of R13 000 did not clear. He was using the cell no. 073 994 7641. After tring to call him, a lady was being used as a tool to answer and say “wrong number”. The guy is situated in Jorberg.

    • Hi Bruno,

      I am very sorry to hear that you were scammed! Please open a case at your nearest Police station asap with all the details you have.

      I’ve searched for these details on our database, and unfortunately s/he has not placed any ads so we do not have any more details.

      Please keep us updated by e-mailing: CustomerCare@JunkMail.co.za.

      Thank you and good luck!

  7. Rotondwa Mathabi Angel says:

    interesting article, since the intermediaries were introduced we are experiencing a lot of scams in every department it is also happening also in the process of looking for a job, I say to the portals like Gum tree,Olx ,Zigo.co.za before you post the advert that are posted to your search engines investigate to see if it is a scam or not just suggesting.

  8. samantha says:

    Hi guys here is another scammer his number 0784182459 his address 122 Louis Botha Avenue,Houghton.He says his name is Richard.He tried to buy 2 display fridges from me,even saying he is gonna pay the courier.I asked him from which bank is he paying the money he said from standard bank.I even got a confirmation sms from standard bank that he transfered the money from standard bank.Then he send me an email with proof of payment and his id.But the email was now from nedbank.He thinks the courier is coming tomorrow morning I’m not saying anything to him.I’m going to the police station tomorrow and report him.

  9. Adele says:

    I advertised a fridge on Saturday for sale the lady Ingrid who called me was insistent on doing an eft even before she saw the fridge.She then sent me proof of payment from ABSA. i called her back and asked how she could part with her money so easily without even knowing me and seeing the condition of the fridge she said she was scared someone else might get it before her. She wanted to come and collect it on Saturday and than God I was not as trusting as she appeared to be and I told her I would need to see the funds cleared in my account. Nothing cleared and she wont respond to my sms or calls. Be careful her number is 0780223152

  10. Rolanda says:

    Hi, i almost got scammed too!! Thank the Lord He was with me!!
    A guy names Sipho Khosa called to say he works in Limpopo and his son lives in Houghton named Cosmos Khosa. His son needed a PC that I was selling. Said he would EFT from ABSA the amount of R3000. Few minutes later got an SMS from +27 81160004043321 saying: 1/2: ABSA – Notice of payment: S.Khosa had paid R3,000.00 into First National Bank Acc***00000000000 S.Moodley EFT Date:2017-06-04 17:09:31 Ref +27000000000 / (Put in zeros not to give my info away).

    We went through to Houghton but on our way our phones died and couldn’t get to the destination. We were in Houghton, even asked a security to charge one of the phones to call the son but soon the phone died again. But when we saw the area, it looked very dangerous and after driving around for about 2 hours we decided to go home. Address given was Houghton Groove, Cnr Elis and Cavendish, Bellevue East, JHB, 2198.

    When we got home and turned on our phones we got rude messages, saying what kind of business do we operate, etc. The Sipho Khosa said he called the bank to put the EFT on hold and will only release when the computer is delivered to his son!!! What an idiot….EFT payments cant be held back….or reversed. I know because I tried once.

    Thank God our phones died and we never met these scammers!! There numbers are 0827557472 and 0762945930.

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