The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has warned the public that it is not withdrawing banknotes and coin because of Covid-19, as criminals carrying fake IDs go house-to-house to collect 'infected' notes.
The scammers are visiting people's homes claiming that the central bank is “recalling” contaminated money from the public. The criminals carry fake Sarb identification and provide false receipts in lieu of the banknotes “collected” which they purport can be collected from any of the banks.
The Sarb says: "If members of the public are approached by individuals purporting to be Sarb employees or representatives, to hand in their cash, they should refuse and contact local police."
In its statement, the central bank dismisses popular fears about the risk of infection from banknotes: "There currently is no evidence that the Covid-19 virus is transmitted through the use of banknotes and coin."
Despite reports that the World Health Organization was pushing people to use contactless payments, a spokesperson for the WHO had told CNBC that it has not issued any formal warnings or statements about the use of cash.