The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has brought about an insight on the e-commerce and this in turn has also created a platform for criminals to target unsuspecting victims, especially those using e-hailing services and selling or buying products on social media, particularly “Facebook Marketplace”. This trend has become a point of concern for some time, especially in Loate and Rietgat policing precincts. In an effort to address this criminal trend, a task team of detectives was established in Tshwane District to deal with these cases.

The team has continued to make inroads in arresting suspects in connection to this robberies m. On 07 February 2024, they arrested a 38-year-old man in connection to a Loate case whereby two victims were kidnapped at gun point in Winterveld during November 2022 after they responded to an online advertisement of a music mixer.

Substantial amount of money was transfered from the victim’s to the suspect’s bank account. The suspect was traced and arrested at his work place on 06 February 2024. The suspect who is an employee at the National Air Force is expected to appear before Garankuwa Magistrates’ court on 08 February 2024 together with four other suspects that were arrested a while ago on the same case.

The Acting Provincial Commissioner of the Police in Gauteng, Major General Tommy Mthombeni has commended the team for their efforts and dedication in arresting the suspects. He further urged the public to always be vigilant and smart when using online platforms.

Not all deals have ‘hidden agendas’, but the following basic safety tips should always be considered before buying or selling online;

– Avoid communicating with buyers or sellers outside Facebook as possible as you can,

– Don’t share your personal information such as banking details or physical address;

– If you are meeting a buyer of seller in person, arrange to meet in a public and well-lit area or at the nearest police station;

– Do more research on the buyer or seller by visiting their private Facebook profile, a ‘red flag’ is raised when his or her profile was only recently created.

Any criminal activities can be reported at the nearest police station or via Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or by making use of the My SAPS App.

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