Please can you pass this on to your readers to avoid anyone being ripped off by this scam.
My husband and I came back through the Beitbridge border (which we travel through often) on Saturday morning (3rd Jan 2015).
On the Zimbabwean side a man wearing a yellow UNMARKED high visibility vest was standing at the customs area watching the few of us that were returning into Zim – as there were several people in high-vis vests there (as per normal) we thought nothing of it and entered the building.
As we were filling in our customs documents this same man from the customs area approached us and began advising us how to fill the form in. We have NEVER had this happen before but given the new facility of an official department of people helping tourists that we have heard of, we assumed he was just doing his job.
But as with Zimbabwe if it seems too good to be true it probably is: once all the documents had been completed and we had police clearance all that was left was customs – the vest guy and another gentleman in a very smart blue and white checkered shirt approached us and told us we must wait in our car OUTSIDE the customs area, and that the $300.00 rebate had been revoked as at 1st January 2015 and we were required to pay duty on EVERYTHING in the vehicle, BUT if we put $100.00 in with our customs document then they would ensure that we would bypass the que and avoid the huge duty charges.
My husband sniffed a big fat rat and after asking them a few questions which made them visibly nervous, he got out of the car and said he was going to ask the customs official – with that, both of the guys vanished and my husband was informed by the GENUINE customs official that the rebate has definitely NOT been cancelled and the two guys are just con-men.
Please be cautious and keep your wits about you – we always find that the Zimbabwe side (unlike the SA side) is always so quick and easy and pleasant that you never need any “help you” guys.