Tool hiring company in Mpumalanga outsmarts fraudsters

Coastal Hire in Mpumalanga has thwarted an opportunistic fraudster.

A fraudulent deal at a tool hire business was nipped in the bud on Friday by an observant employer, preventing a loss of nearly half a million rand.

Though the mastermind behind this repeated scheme remains at large, two men were apprehended after Genevieve van Dyk, a hire controller at Coastal Hire Malalane, received a call from a Mark, a name that might be false, pretending to represent a company, Sandvik Mining, last Friday, reports Corridor Gazette.

He requested a quotation for the hiring of equipment to the value of R450,000 for work that allegedly needed to be done in the Onderberg.  A quote was prepared and presented, after which the arrangements for the collection of the equipment as well as payment of the deposit was changed several times.

Van Dyk tried to confirm the hiring of equipment with Sandvik Mining’s head office, but all the contact numbers supplied were diverted back to Mark. Van Dyk then contacted Sandvik Mining online and obtained the correct contact details, and got hold of Theo Nel, Sandvik Mining’s risk management officer.

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He informed Van Dyk of ongoing fraudulent transactions committed by Mark, pretending to be from Sandvik Mining. Sixty-six criminal cases have been opened. This has been ongoing since 2016.

Van Dyk contacted Mark’s latest victim, the owner of Kimberley Coastal, who confirmed that a deposit was paid by the alleged fraudster and equipment to the value of R380,000 loaded, never to be seen again. This case is under investigation.

Van Dyk then contacted MBM Protection Services in Malalane, and arranged with them to be in the store when the driver came to pick up the equipment. After numerous phone calls from Mark, a bakkie eventually showed up just after 16:00, almost closing time.

MBM Protection Services

A deposit was paid in cash. Two males were apprehended by MBM Protection Services and handed over to the Malalane SAPS. The deposit of R9,700 was handed over to the investigating officer as evidence in the case.

The modus operandi of this fraudster is to contact local contractors offering delivery services. He arranges with them to do the pickup, with them unknowing of the fact that this is actually criminal activity.

He instructs them to go and pick up the equipment, and deliver it to a given address. They then get paid in cash.

Two men appeared in the Malalane Magistrate’s Court on Monday. One of them, the driver, was released due to the fact that he could not be linked to the case.

A 32-year-old man remains in custody. The case has been postponed to September 23. He presented a false ID when he picked up the equipment, which constituted a criminal charge against him.

Spokesperson for Malalane SAPS, Sgt Bheki Nkosi, confirmed that they are looking for the mastermind behind these fraudulent transactions.

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