In a statement on Thursday, the department said the National Liquor Authority (NLA) has received a number of enquiries relating to suspicious WhatsApp and SMS messages requesting national and provincial licence holders to deposit R250 for the renewal of their liquor licences.
“It has come to the attention of the DTI, the [police] and provincial liquor authorities that there is a scam that is currently operating within the liquor industry.
“This comes after a series of investigations that were conducted after complaints were received from people who have been defrauded.”
These messages are sent from the number: 082 007 229 288 038, DTI said.
According to the department, the scam is operating mostly in Gauteng. It said there was however evidence that it was spreading to other provinces.
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“This is posing a challenge and is a costly exercise for both the liquor regulators and the enforcement agencies. As a result, the DTI and SAPS have identified the need to heighten awareness of these fraudulent activities to the prospective registrants and the South African community at large.”
The department urged licence holders and the general public to remember that it does not have licence categories that require an annual renewal fee of R250. It further stated that the number and banking details used in the message were not the official details.
The DTI said the fraudulent message reads:
Liquor License admin fee is outstanding with R250.00 for the year 2016.
Payment is due before 01 Sept 2016 to prevent penalties or suspension.
Payment or Deposit must be made to:
Liquor AST SA
REF: License or Permit Number