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04 November 2012 at 18:14 - Posted by Midrand

Cops on lookout for bogus insurance claims


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The recent spate of bogus hijack claims has police on high alert for scam artists, warns SAPS spokesman Jay Naicker.

“People should not be offended if they are questioned in depth when they report matters. We’ve experienced many hoax robberies and hijacking cases recently,” said Naicker.

He warned that scam artists would face the full might of the law if found out.

“We’d like to warn people to refrain from filing fake reports. It is a crime to make a statement under oath claiming you’ve been hijacked or robbed.

“We’ve arrested and charged a lot of people for reporting false cases and they have been convicted,” Naicker said.

Instead of wedding bells, an Umlazi couple looks more likely to be hearing the clang of prison doors closing.

Unable to come up with the lobola he needed to secure her hand in marriage, the groom SMSed a relative claiming he and his partner had been hijacked.

Police said the man hoped to put the ransom money towards his lobola obligation of R32 000.

But police uncovered their plan and the couple, who disappeared for two weeks, will appear in court tomorrow to face charges of defeating the ends of justice.

It has emerged that there have been a number of hoax cases in Phoenix this year.

The latest incident happened on Thursday when a young woman reported a mugging to Phoenix SAPS. She claimed to be on her way to deposit R12 000 belonging to her employer at a local bank when she was robbed.

Phoenix detectives discovered that the woman had apparently left the money at a local supermarket parcel counter before going to the police.

Later that day, it is believed she and a co-worker fetched the money and went on a shopping spree. The next day she took the balance to work and left it with another co-worker for safekeeping. Police suspect the money was to be shared among the three.

The three have been charged with defeating the ends of justice.

“This year alone we know of 11 instances where people were arrested for opening false cases in Phoenix. All relate to hijackings and business and house robberies,” said Naicker.

Since each case was different, Naicker could not say how much it cost police each time to track hoax allegations, but he said hundreds of thousands could be involved in some instances.

“If we’re tracking a hijacked vehicle in Durban, surrounding stations may respond to the call and that could amount to hundreds of vehicles and personnel involved in the search.

“That is a waste of manpower and resources that could have been used more effectively to pursue genuine cases,” he said.

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