For the general public, the coronavirus pandemic has brought fear and uncertainty on how and when it will be harnessed but for criminals, it’s an irresistible opportunity to scam the unsuspecting and confused public.
On Monday, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) warned the public about criminals going to homes claiming to be representatives of the bank and telling them to hand over cash as it was “contaminated” with the virus.
This after reports that some people have been robbed of their hard-earned cash by these unscrupulous thieves in Johannesburg.
In a statement, the Bank said it was not removing any cash from the public.
“These criminal elements carry fake SARB identification and provide false receipts in lieu of the banknotes ‘collected’, which they purport can be collected from any of the banks,” said the Bank.
“The SARB has neither withdrawn any banknotes or coins nor issued any instruction to hand in banknotes or coins that may be contaminated with the virus.”
The Bank said it would never, under any circumstances, send its employees or representatives to collect cash from the public.
“If members of the public are approached by individuals purporting to be SARB employees or representatives to hand in their cash, they should refuse and contact local police.”
The Bank said there was no evidence that the coronavirus was transmitted through the use of banknotes or coins.
On Monday afternoon, 62 positive cases of coronavirus had been reported in SA.
The SA Reserve Bank wants to encourage members of the public to contact local police when they are approached by individuals purporting to be SARB employees or representatives. The SARB will never ask members of the public to hand over their cash.
— SA Reserve Bank (@SAReserveBank) March 16, 2020