2021 has not been for the faint of heart, particularly for South Africans. A deadly global pandemic, civil unrest, and a recession fuelled by tepid economic growth and lockdown restrictions. A time to vasbyt. It is an unfortunate reality that times such as these also lead to increased levels of opportunism. We need to beware of opportunists in difficult times


In the last few months we have encountered:

  1. A fraudulent purchaser wishing to take occupation of an upmarket property before the transfer date. He undertook that the full purchase price would be deposited and provided “proof of payment” from his bank. The funds never arrived and we were able to prevent him taking occupation.
  2. A fraudster ostensibly contracting on behalf of various vehicle dealerships. After payment by our client, some of the vehicles arrived; most did not. The dealerships have no record of this individual.


One truism in life is that forewarned is forearmed. Another is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Before contracting with any party, do your homework! The following should be the initial basic queries:

  1. Whom are you contracting with? Is it an individual, or a legal entity such as a company or close corporation? See our May 2021 blog in this regard.
  2. If a legal entity, is the individual duly authorised to represent that entity? Is the legal entity still in business?
  3. Is the party listed on a credit bureau? Are there adverse comments on Hellopeter?
  4. What measures do you have in place to ensure prospects of recovery should the worst-case scenario occur?


Remember that, even if you have the best attorneys in the country, getting them to “unscramble an egg” may be impossible. You need to be wary of opportunists and prevent disasters before they happen. Should you need our advice in advising you before contracting, or recovering damages for you after contracting, please contact us on 031 266 2530, or email one of our associates.