As the novel Coronavirus epidemic continues to ravage South Africa, some fraudsters have decided to exploit the situation by visiting homes to “recall” banknotes from unsuspecting citizens supposedly on behalf of the country’s apex bank.
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Following the rise in cases to 116 as at Wednesday, there is an assumption among the citizens that the virus could be transmitted via banknotes.
The fraudsters carried fake identification badges and provided false receipts to victims, who were told they could exchange the slips for “clean” cash at any bank.
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But the country’s Central Bank in a statement has warned its citizens against entertaining such requests and parting with their notes to scammers in the guise of collecting new notes.
The bank said it had “neither withdrawn any banknotes or coins nor issued any instruction to hand in banknotes or coins that may be contaminated”.
“There currently is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through the use of banknotes and coins,” the statement issued late Monday read.
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Netcare, South Africa’s biggest private healthcare provider, also warned that thieves, disguising as doctors screening for Coronavirus, were going around trying to gain access into people’s homes.
“Criminals are going to homes in various areas claiming to be from Netcare… with door-to-door screening for COVID-19.
“Please note that staff… are not doing door-to-door COVID-19 screening,” said a statement by the Netcare group.