SOCIAL media market places have become hubs for buying and selling of second-hand goods but with nothing governing these markets, it is open season for scammers.
Cape Town-based private investigator, John Alexander, from Royal Investigations has asked the public to be on the lookout for alleged career fraudster Grant Nelson from Boksburg, Johannesburg.
The Weekend Argus has seen a copy of the warrant of arrest issued for Nelson following the opening of a fraud case at Fochville SAPS in Gauteng.
“Nelson has (allegedly) defrauded more than 100 South Africans and counting. He advertises non-existent products such as dinner, bedroom and bathroom sets, blankets and carpets, online,” said Alexander.
The private investigator, who is assisting the police in their investigation, said as soon as victims pay, Nelson allegedly disappears and never delivers.
Nelson is believed to be in Boksburg, although his profile also includes a Germiston address. According to Alexander, he is not really in possession of any of the items. He allegedly promises free courier of reasonably priced products.
“He (allegedly) lifted the pictures from the internet. Nelson was arrested in October last year and released on bail after appearing in connection with 15 counts of fraud and forgery in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court. Currently, he just continues the fraud, again advertising the same products on a different Facebook site called Infamiss,” said Alexander.
Among the victims Nelson has allegedly scammed are:
A Potchefstroom woman of R24 000 for bed sets.
A Sea Point woman of R7 000 for 20 dinner sets and a bed set.
An Amanzimtoti woman of R30 000 for bed sets and blankets.
The Weekend Argus has seen a document which contains all the cases against him and how many people he has scammed.
Stefan Villoen opened a case against Nelson last year which went to court.
“My wife had bought about R20 000 worth of bedding stuff from him,” said Villoen.
Nelson was due to appear in court yesterday for this matter but did not, according to the investigator.
Shahnaaz Mohamed bought dinner sets from Nelson. On this occasion, he allegedly used a female alias, Denise.
Mohamed owns a glass and homeware store in Brits. She ordered dinner sets totalling R16 750. She told the Weekend Argus she was sent an invoice and then she paid.
After receiving bogus messages about the courier being hijacked, she asked for a refund.
“She agreed but I didn’t get a refund the same day and then I realised something is fishy. I opened a case. After that I found out it’s a man and not a lady,” said Mohamed.
Mario Inder, an admin for a second-hand sales group on social media, said when it comes the marketplace it is generally very hard to manage scammers.
Numerous attempts to reach Nelson went unanswered.