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Domestic ‘burial’ scam resurfaces in Free State

by lloyd last modified 2008-10-27 14:15

Domestic ‘burial’ scam resurfaces in Free State

22 October 2008


The Department of Labour has warned employers and workers in the domestic sector to be on the alert of criminals posing as Labour officials with intentions to rob employers under the pretence of collecting money to bury their deceased domestic workers.


The latest scam hit the Welkom area in the Free State this week, where the employer received a call from a bogus official demanding that an amount of R3000 be paid immediately into a bank account to help transport the body of [the employer’s] “deceased” domestic worker. The employer then called the domestic worker’s second employer to inform him about her death, only for the same domestic employee in question to answer the phone herself.


This criminal activity follows similar incidents reported by the Department earlier this year as having taken place in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban amongst others.


The modus operandi of the perpetrators was to phone residences during the day and identify themselves as UIF officials.  They would then ask to speak to an unsuspecting domestic worker.


The purpose of such a call would be to extract information about the workers employment status such as hours of work, salary, days of work and whether the employee sleeps in or out. They will also ask the employee their names, telephone numbers of the next of kin and telephone numbers of other domestic workers in the area.


The perpetrator/s would then call the employer at the time they knew the worker was not on duty and act as a relative of the worker. They will then use the information gathered and swindle money out the unsuspecting employer by claiming that the domestic workers has died in an accident and that money was therefore needed for the burial


Labour Spokesperson Page Boikanyo urged the public to immediately report any suspicious activity to the police. “No Labour official was allowed to call employers or employees to demand money. He said families of deceased UIF contributors need to approach any nearest labour centre to apply in person for death benefits.


“The Department of Labour’s inspectors are the only officials who are allowed to carry out inspections by prior arrangements. They will have identification on them and still they are not allowed to receive money from employers. Our inspectors do not carry their business by phone.” He added.


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