NATIONAL NEWS - The sharp increase in enforcement orders issued by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency in terms of the Administrative Adjunction of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, has also increased the number of fraudsters preying on motorists.
Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) said in a statement on Monday it was “gravely concerned” that fraudsters continue to exploit enforcement orders.
“These criminals operate under the noses of the officials at registering authorities and driving licence centres in Johannesburg and Tshwane,” JPSA said.
“They can be very convincing, more especially when they approach unwitting motorists who just want to renew their vehicle licence disc or driving licence card with the minimum of fuss and delay.”
It said motorists are usually approached by scammers while waiting in a queue, if they have been turned away at service counters and sometimes before they even enter the licensing facility’s grounds.
Scammers pose as people offering assistance and ask for the driver’s licence card. However, as soon as the card is received, motorists receive a printout of their Aarto infringements and told to settle them immediately in cash.
JPSA said false claims of arrest warrants were also being used as a way to speed up the deal, as well as discounts “used to sweeten the deal”.
“There is no warrant of arrest under Aarto,” JPSA confirmed.
A 50% discount is provided if a fine is paid within 32 days of the infringement notice, but cannot be reinstated once it has been forfeited, they added.
Motorists lose twice, once thanks to scammers and again when they are offered little to no assistance from licensing authorities. They are also often turned away by police.
“The authorities have been aware of these problems for many years,” said JPSA chairperson Howard Dembovsky.
“Although I have served on various security committees convened by the City of Johannesburg to tackle this issue, none of them have met this year and it seems they have been abandoned,” he said.
Dembovsky added the implementation of the Aarto Amendment Act would introduce electronic services, which would provide new opportunities for online scammers who are even more difficult to arrest than those who lurk at licensing centres.
The JPSA said the only way for motorists to prevent being scammed is to “deal with one’s fines properly”.
This can be done by clicking here to check your Aarto fines.
Motorists can also pay an Aarto fine or law enforcement order at Checkers Money Market counters or online at payCity.
Paying cash to anyone, or receiving assistance from people you do not know, is strongly discouraged.
(Compiled by Nica Richards)