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The City of Cape Town has warned residents of a WhatsApp scam that promises residents of South Africa discounted prepaid electricity tokens.
The scam has been circulating as a rates increase is on the cards for locals.
The message offers electricity tokens for all types of prepaid meters. Prices offered include R450 for 900 units, R550 for 1500 units, and R900 for 2500 units. These prices are far below current costs for prepaid electricity.
The scammer requests the user’s meter number and also says they can help you clear pending bills with your municipality.
“The City is aware of an electricity prepaid token scam doing the rounds on social media channels. The City is aware that the scammer is claiming to be able to provide residents with electricity prepaid tokens at a reduced value,” the City of Cape Town said in a social media post.
Beware of prepaid electricity token scam
The City is aware of an electricity prepaid token scam doing the rounds on social media channels. The City is aware that the scammer is claiming to be able to provide residents with electricity prepaid tokens at a reduced value. pic.twitter.com/Re7E82m1rd
— City of Cape Town (@CityofCT) February 23, 2022
The municipality notes that the tokens supplied by the scammer don’t work.
“These are scams. Please note any units bought via this scam will not be accepted by City prepaid electricity meters.”
This means that users have spent money on useless tokens that buy them no electricity.
Electricity scam in the face of price increase
While token scams have existed for years in some form, with some scammers offering free units, the offers are particularly enticing in the face of price hikes.
Electricity prices are set to increase by 9.61% following a decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).
The new tariffs will come into effect from 1 April for Eskom customers.
However, the City of Cape Town says that City-supplied customers still need to have their prices determined through the municipality’s budget process.
This means that their increases will come into effect from 1 July instead.
To avoid scams, make sure you only purchase electricity tokens through approved vendors or approved banking apps.
Feature image: Asterfolio/Unsplash