Two Tuks students have been conned by an accommodation scam after they responded to an advert on Junk Mail for a bachelor flat in Cambridge Court, Hatfield.
After having viewed and agreed to rent the flat, the students were instructed to pay a deposit into the account of the alleged lawyer of the supposed owner of the flat in order to secure the unit.
Former SRC President Mthokozisi Nkosi phoned a man named Peter Venter to arrange to see the flat. Immediately after paying the deposit, Nkosi informed Venter, the apparent owner. According to Nkosi, Venter was unhappy that Nkosi had made a direct payment via internet transfer. He requested that Nkosi reverse the payment before the banks closed and that he make a cash payment instead.
“I then started getting suspicious about the whole thing. Firstly, I was not depositing the money into his account or his letting agency’s but into another person’s account whom he said was his lawyer (N Ngobhozi) from a law firm called Attorneys Strauss Khan Ngobhozi and Partners. Secondly, we were supposed to meet the following day after I had made the payment but he then stopped answering my calls, SMSs and emails,” he said.
Nkosi went to Standard Bank and asked them to prevent the lawyer from accessing the money he had deposited. “The case is on-going and I am yet to receive my money back because it is now a fraud case,” he said.
Another student, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke to a male on the phone and arranged to see the flat. On arrival at the address she contacted the supposed owner and was told to ask for a security guard named Isaac who would show her the flat. Isaac phoned and spoke to the owner when the student had questions regarding the electricity billing. The student later received an SMS saying her application to rent had been approved and that she should contact Louis or Peter Venter to secure the unit.
The student was told to pay a deposit into the Attorneys Strauss Khan Ngobhozi and Partners bank account. She deposited R2 500 into the account before asking the teller whether the account belonged to a lawyers’ firm to which the teller replied that it was in fact a personal account belonging to a Nokhuthula Ngobhozi.
The student froze her banking account and phoned the alleged owner who claimed not to know what she was talking about. She returned to the flat to find Isaac helping a girl move into the same apartment that had been shown to her.
Isaac told her that he had no knowledge of a private owner and that the flat belonged to Huurkor. When asked who he had phoned with regard to the electricity billing, he told the student that he did not know.
The student opened a case and was told that it is currently being investigated.
Photo: Melissa Kemp