A TRAFFIC fine scam caught a Bathurst woman by surprise last week and could have led to her handing R2 000 over to the perpetrators.
Sue Willers received a call on her land-line from a man purporting to be from the traffic department demanding she pay R2 000 within an hour or the Flying Squad would be dispatched to arrest her.
“I was very worried,” said Willers when she spoke to TotT last Tuesday afternoon. “I immediately called the Ndlambe Traffic Department in Port Alfred to find out if the call was genuine.” She also phoned the regional offices in Grahamstown and the national offices in Johannesburg, confirming she had no outstanding traffic fines.
Willers became more suspicious when the perpetrator asked her for cell phone and car registration numbers.
“I asked them why they did not have my car registration number if they were reading from an arrest warrant,” she said.
TotT was invited to the offices of community/protection services deputy director, Fanie Fouche, where Ndlambe chief traffic officer, Fred Cannon, explained the procedures regarding traffic fines.
“First of all, we do not threaten anyone with sending the Flying Squad to make an arrest,” said Cannon. “Port Alfred doesn’t even have a Flying Squad.
“A traffic officer or the traffic department might phone a person to let them know about outstanding traffic fines. We would ask that the person call in at the Ndlambe Traffic Department, next to the Fire Station, and speak to Yolandi Louw who will be able to help them.”
Cannon went on to say he found the entire incident disturbing, particularly that the perpetrators had to ask for Willers’ cell phone number and her car registration.
“If there was a warrant of arrest, the issuing officer would have all the details in front of them,” he said.
“You have a right to see the original warrant of arrest and are also entitled to request to see the officer’s appointment certificate. Officers from either traffic or Saps must carry their appointment certificate at all times otherwise they cannot issue arrest warrants,” he said.
Cannon recommended anyone receiving a call from people claiming to be traffic officers should immediately ask for the warrant of arrest number and the notice number.
“Do not give any details over the phone. Rather call in at the traffic department and speak to Yolandi directly,” said Cannon.
Fouche added people must be careful when giving any information over the phone, and was particularly concerned that older members of the community might be caught out in this traffic fine scam.
He also recommended contacting the traffic department to find out if there are any outstanding fines or warrants for arrest with respect to traffic fines.
“Our traffic department will only be able to identify local fines. When we are connected to eNatis (electronic National Traffic Information System) we will be able to identify fines issued elsewhere in the country. However, if you have any questions, we would welcome enquiries from the public,” said Fouche.