As The NEWS is a local community newspaper in Hermanus I would very much appreciate it if you could warn all residents – particularly the elderly – in our community about a credit card scam that is hitting us.

This is what happened to me on Tuesday last week:

I received a call from a well-spoken lady saying she was from my bank and would I like to “upgrade” my credit card. I was not concerned about this as I had often received this type of call from my bank previously. I said no thank you, to which she replied: “Did to know that you have earned over a thousand Rand in bonus points on your present credit card BUT if you upgrade now you will double that amount in this year.” I again answered, “No thanks, I am quite happy with what I have,” and put the phone down.

Within minutes she called again. “Please don’t put the phone down,” she said. “I want to transfer your bonus into your credit card but just have to check a couple of details.” She then verbally spelled out my full name, full address and cellphone number correctly. But then she gave my email address incorrectly and it raised a red flag for me, so I just said “OK” and hung up.

Within minutes I received an sms from my bank saying that R7 901 had been spent on my credit card at Takealot and if I was concerned about it to phone a specific number.

On my credit card it is normal for the bank to sms me like this if I have spent over R500 at any one time. But R7901 at Takealot? No, no no! I have never bought anything from Takealot. So I phoned the emergency number immediately and the card was blocked – but unfortunately too late, as the transaction had already been processed.

I immediately contacted three different departments at Takealot online and told them about the credit card scam and asked them to stop the delivery of the order that had been paid for. However, I received no reply.

The next morning I went to my bank to confirm that my credit card had been blocked – which it had been – and to tell them about the scam.

It was then that I got a real shock because the gentleman in the bank to whom I was speaking just gasped and said: “Oh no, I don’t believe it! You are the third person who has come in this morning to report this credit card scam. One client had been scammed for just over R5 000 and the other over R10 000. This was early in the morning and I do not know if any more people have reported this scam or if it was only at this one bank.

I have now contacted the SAPS and laid a charge of fraud against this as yet unknown person(s). The police have been outstandingly supportive and a subpoena against Takealot is in the process of being issued. It may take a couple of days, but then Takealot will have no choice but to reveal who used my credit card to pay for their order and the delivery address. I am hoping that I will get justice!

I hope my experience will serve as a warning to your readers.

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