Taxify driver exposes scam
E-hailing cabbie hailed for his efforts in thwarting cellphone fraudster
A Good Samaritan e-hailing driver has foiled an alleged scam involving a Gonubie woman selling her phone on online marketplace OLX.
Pippa Hamilton has described the efforts of Taxify driver Mfundo Magwaca as nothing short of “remarkable”.
On Monday afternoon, Magwaca alerted the Dispatch to a potential scam that was unfolding. Earlier that day, Hamilton had advertised her Samsung Galaxy S6 on OLX and Gumtree at a cost of R9,750.
Her two-year-old son suffers from auto immune disease, and the family is having to cover mounting medical bills.
Magwaca received a booking through the Taxify app at 4.15pm for a man calling himself “Isaac”. Isaac then called him, saying he needed to go to Gonubie to pick up an item.
Magwaca does not usually accept cash payments for item pick-ups. Last month, he received a request to pick up a cellphone from a seller in West Bank, but the seller never received proof of payment.
Magwaca decided that he would give Isaac the benefit of the doubt, but he asked Isaac for Hamilton’s phone number, which he “reluctantly” gave up.
“When I got there [Gonubie] and explained I was a Taxify driver, Pippa asked to see my driver’s licence and took a photo of me, which I completely understood.
Hamilton had received two payment “proofs” from Isaac on her cellphone – one an SMS and the other an e-mail. While the correct date appeared on the e-mail, the SMS reflected another date, January 4 2019.
Isaac also furnished Hamilton with a copy of his South African ID via WhatsApp.
Hamilton told Magwaca to only give Isaac the phone if the money showed up in her bank account at midnight. Magwaca decided to call Isaac again after he left Hamilton.
“I told him I was giving him a chance to tell me what was really happening. He then became aggressive and actually accused me of stealing the phone.
“He then called Pippa, not realising that we were communicating with one another. He told her she must open a case against me.”
A short while later, Magwaca received a phone call from another number from a man identifying himself as “Bongani” and claiming to be from Taxify.
Bongani said he had received a “complaint” about him stealing a cellphone. However, when Magwaca pointed out that the number used by Bongani was not a Taxify number, the line was cut and the number did not work. He believed the SIM card was thrown away.
On Tuesday morning, Hamilton had still not received her money and Magwaca still had the phone which he returned to her.
Magwaca made another call to Isaac and permitted the Dispatch to listen in on this conversation.
When Magwaca told Isaac he had been caught out, Isaac laughed and told him: “Stop being like a detective when you are a taxi driver.”
Magwaca offered to deliver the phone to wherever Isaac was, but Isaac could be heard saying he had “business to take care of”.
The Dispatch contacted the number provided for Isaac. The man claimed he and Hamilton had reached an agreement on the sale of the phone. “I requested this driver and he went to pick up the phone. He then was on his way to deliver the phone but then he cancelled the trip. I then called the lady to get the phone from him,” Isaac said.
“I told my wife to stop the payment for the phone.” The Dispatch then informed Isaac that it had seen the SMS but the date did not correspond with the proof of payment.
To this, Isaac responded: “Let me tell my account adviser, and he will get back to you.” The Dispatch pointed out that he did not have the Dispatch number, but Isaac put the phone down.
The Dispatch called Isaac back later, asking if he had spoken to his “account adviser”. He said he had and that he would be calling, but this never occurred.
Hamilton confirmed on Tuesday she had not received the money in her bank account. She and Magwaca opened a case against Isaac at the Beacon Bay police station.
Hamilton said: “Mfundo has gone above and beyond his duties. He put me completely at ease when he made me realise what was going on. What he’s done is remarkable.”..
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.