The Consumer Council of Fiji is issuing an alert to all Fijian consumers to be wary of individuals who are claiming to sell taxi permits and demanding upfront payments – only to disappear with the consumers hard-earned money.
In a recent complaint lodged at the Council, an alleged con-artist had targeted an elderly woman to sell a taxi permit at a total cost of $30,000. With this false promise, he extorted $2000 from the complainant
as an initial deposit but failed to respond to her when she tried to enquire about the transfer of permit.
The Council’s investigation yielded that the man did not have any taxi permit registered under his name.
Attempts by the Council to contact this person has also proved futile.
The Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Ms. Seema Shandil has condemned this felonious and unethical action which took advantage of the trusting and caring nature of an elderly person.
“It is disturbing to see that such scammers are now targeting the elderly and vulnerable in our communities and we must be extremely vigilant in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones from falling victims to such scams,” stated Ms Shandil.
Ms Shandil has reiterated that one of the hallmarks of such con-artists and scammers is that they are sweet talkers and will go to any extent to persuade consumers to pay cash up front.
“It is the responsibility of consumers to ensure that they only deal with legitimate businesses/individuals and refrain from being enticed by deals that are too good to be true.
If consumers have any doubts regarding the credibility of businesses/individuals or their business pitch, they must contact the relevant authorities to check their legitimacy. In cases where individuals are claiming to sell taxi permit, consumers should verify this with the Land Transport Authority before engaging with them”
Due to the criminal nature of such cases, the Council is working closely with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Fiji Police Force in order to protect the rights and interests of Fijian consumers.
Fijians coming in contact with any suspected con-artists are urged to call the Council on the toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint through the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app