Business warns of cash-and-carry con artists

The Opel bakkie fraudsters allegedly used to pick up their order.

A Pinelands wellness-food company is warning other businesses not to fall prey to fraudsters posing as cash-and-carry employees after they were conned.

Philip Rubin, the director of Health Island, says men posing as couriers from a cash-and-carry company got away with 90 snack boxes worth R10 000, on Tuesday September 1, after placing an order that looked legitimate.

A man identifying himself as Nazareth Mathayi had called the firm and had then sent an email, bearing a company logo and signature, to place an order for 50kg of cashew nuts, Mr Rubin said.

“We received ‘proof of payment’ from Nedbank, which looked legitimate, from the company email address with this person’s name, Thiruvashani Neiker,” he said.

Mr Rubin said “Thiruvashani Neiker” had used an email address with the same company name that “Nazareth Mathayi” had given when placing the order.

According to Mr Rubin, the proof of payment looked completely legitimate – it had the invoice number on and it was on a Nedbank letterhead like one would expect.

Mr Rubin said two young men had come to pick up the order with an Opel bakkie.

But, as it turned out, the company gave them the wrong order – 90 snack boxes instead of the cashew nuts.

Mr Rubin said when they had called “Nazareth Mathayi” to explain the mistake, he had told them he would return the snack boxes to collect the cashews.

But after an hour passed, Mr Rubin realised something was wrong.

He took a chance and called the number in the signature from the email they’d been sent. The number was for a financial services company.

And when they called the cash and carry “Nazareth Mathayi” allegedly worked for, no one there knew him.

Mr Rubin said calls to “Nazareth Mathayi’s” number had then either gone unanswered or had gone to voicemail.

The Tatler also tried to contact that number a few times and it went directly to voicemail.

Mr Rubin said when he entered the transaction number from the “proof of payment” on Nedbank’s website it proved to be a false transaction.

He said payments usually take two days to clear but in future, when doing business with a new company, he would not release stock until the payment was in the account.

Pinelands police station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Anton van der Berg, confirmed they were investigating a case of fraud. Anyone with information can call Detective Sergeant Gerswin Fortuin at 021 506 2118.