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WhatsApp and SMS scammers target liquor traders

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has issued a warning of a scam that is targeting liquor licence holders. By News Agency

“The National Liquor Authority (NLA) of the dti has received a number of enquiries relating to suspicious WhatsApp and SMS messages, in which both national and provincial licence holders are requested to deposit certain monies for the renewal of their liquor licences,” said the dti in a statement on Thursday.

The messages are sent from this number: 082007229288038.

The message reads: Payment reminder: Liquor License admin fee is outstanding with R250.00 for the year 2016. Payment is due before 01 Sept 2016 to prevent penalties or suspension. Payment or Deposit must be made to: Liquor AST SA Bank: FNB ACC: 62632838671 REF: License or Permit Number.

The dti is investigating the matter. It said no licence categories require an annual renewal fee of R250. The SMS number 082007229288038 is not a number that is allocated to the department.

The banking details shown in the SMS are not the banking details used by the NLA

The scam is largely operating in Gauteng. However, more evidence has come to the fore that the scam is also spreading to various provinces.

“This is posing a challenge and is a costly exercise for both the liquor regulators and the enforcement agencies. As a result, the dti and South African Police Service (SAPS) have identified the need to heighten awareness of these fraudulent activities to the prospective registrants and the South African community at large.”

People who receive or have received these messages are advised to contact the dti call centre on 0861 843 384 or send an email to nationalliquorauthority@thedti.gov.za. – SAnews.gov.za

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