NEVER before have so many people been conned, cheated, scammed or simply taken for a ride.
Most daily papers now have a designated consumer complaints column filled with heartbreaking stories of unfortunate people being left penniless and destitute.
It seems that every Tom Dick and Harry, financial institution and business is set on enriching themselves at the expense of others.
The sad part is that often the conman is either family, a friend, or at the very least an acquaintance.
One can but wonder if this is part of the general moral decay that seems to have set in, and taken hold of the community?
Over the past year Our Times has been instrumental in bringing many such conmen to book. A couple of builders were exposed, two well-known financial gurus were caught out for ripping off old folk, a backyard mechanic was shown up for what he is. And then we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the infamous Kouga Municipality’s transgressions.
Many also fell for the scams by the notorious Nigerians. They come in all forms, and one has to diligently steer clear of e-mails, snail mail and SMSes all promising instant riches.
Not a day goes by with-out an e-mail from a “lawyer” in some country who has established that the recipient is the long lost third cousin of a recently deceased aunt, and as such, is the only heir. All one is expected to do is pass on your banking details and the dollars will literally roll in. Another is the notification that the recipient has won thousands in a British lottery, and only needs a bank account number in which it can be deposited.
In the past week, another two hard- done- by consumers approached Our Times for assistance in recovering some of their hard- earned cash.
In the one case the customer is ducking and diving his creditors. The alleged perpetrator is the owner of well-known company who has been placing advertisements in various publicationsp and running up a huge bill. One of the salesmen who had sold him advertising space is now being held responsible for the debt. Needless to say the salesman is appalled that he has been let down by someone he knew and trusted. In the other case a businesswoman was conned into parting with R60000. She thought she was buying into a database of clients, only to discover that the owner had no intention of sharing her client list but was very keen to lay her hands on the cash. The bottom line is one can never be too careful. Think, think and think again before parting with your banking, or any personal details. As they say: “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”