Beware this scam if your car was stolen in South Africa

Let’s assume your car was stolen and you reported it to the police yesterday, and you made an insurance claim for it this morning…

Around 3 in the afternoon, you receive a call from a man who claims to be a police captain. He quotes your case number so it sounds legit. It goes like this: First, he asks you if you’ve had any news. When you tell him you haven’t, he says the car has been recovered. He asks you for any identifying marks and if there was anything of value in the car. He then “confirms” that they have recovered the car, on the Mozambique border. But…

They arrested two foreign nationals in the car, and recovered an illegal firearm. The gun and the men are suspects in an armed robbery, and now the car is attached to an investigation. Thus it will be impounded for eight to twelve weeks. But, caption scam tells you he will hand the phone over to the Brigadier. He asks you to tell the Brigadier you really need the car, you will lose your job without it, and ask him to please please release the car sooner. But don’t let the guy know that he, the captain, asked you. It must come from you…

So you speak to the “brigadier”. Firstly he reminds you of his rank (Wooooh!) and then he tells you that you are asking for them to cut short the procedure which is against protocol. But maybe he can help you out… da-da-daaaah! For a fee!

Needless to say, nobody has recovered your car. Don’t give them any money.

If you’re not in the mood to call them out, or ask them to WhatsApp you a photo of the car, or tell them identifying information that’s false, you can treat it as if the case is legit, and ask them for the following:

Please send me the following so that I can send it on to my insurance:

  1. The SAP13 form number.
  2. The investigating officer name.
  3. The impound location.

They will agree to send you those things, and then end the call. Obviously they won’t send you shit because they haven’t actually recovered the car. It’s unclear how they got the case number… they could be corrupt cops, or they could be part of a crime syndicate that infiltrated the insurance call centre.

Also, I received another call the next day, from another “captain”… same story but this time the car would be impounded for six months.