A discussion on some of the trending scams in South Africa identified during the course of 2015.
Long hours, financial strains and social issues are stacked on many South Africans’ minds. The last thing you need is to get scammed, bringing you to boil, sigh and feel stupid, all confirming your suspicions that your life sucks. There has been a surge in the number of scams on the general public in 2015. The scams are a clear example of malicious people taking advantage of tired and credulous people. The crimes take the form of hacks, advance fee fraud, online and SMS scams to name a few.
In light of this, hippo.co.za published an article on some of the prevalent scams and how you can protect yourself from many of these cons. The UJ Centre for Cyber Security contributed to the Hippo publication shedding light on many of the banking scams with some preventative measures for consumers.
We have put together some highlights from the Hippo article to help South Africans protect themselves and their money.
Banking Related Fraud – includes phishing schemes, copycat sites and false SMS notifications, misleading the ‘mark’ (the target of the fraud) to divulge sensitive and confidential information. The information is later used for financial gain, whether it’s selling the information or directly using that information to steal from the victims.
- Do not use SMS as the only method of confirming transactions (especially from third parties).
- Check monthly bank statements for irregularities.
- Don’t use public access computers to conduct banking transactions.
Advance Fee Fraud – includes online classified scams, online shopping scams and dating and romance scams. Criminals swindle money from people using sophisticated social engineering, getting people to pay before they receive the goods or services which are never delivered.
- Avoid free shipping offers and only pay after inspection of goods.
- Ensure the website you use has secure online payment methods and not money order/transfer.
The use of fake and fraudulent materials to coerce people to part with their money. This type of scam takes advantage of people’s emotions. For instance, a fake account closure prompts people to divulge their account information. These criminals may also claim that you won a prize or have inherited a lot of money, to acquire your personal information. This type of scam also involves identity theft, with close to 16 000 cases reported.
- Do not respond to random emails about having won some prize or the other.
- Keep your ID safe and rather travel with certified copies.
- Ensure your passwords are secure with a series of letters, upper case letters, numbers and symbols.
Be wary of strange and often sudden offers promising you financial gain. Be suspicious of overly friendly strangers and ensure all your documentation is secure to ensure that you are not taken advantage of by these scammers. Most of these cases are rarely solved, so rather be safe than sorry. If you are concerned about your security and other scams that you could potentially fall for please visit http://www.hippo.co.za/blog/insurance/trending-scams-in-south-africa/
. Read the full article and arm yourself with information about scammers.
In the event you fall prey to scams ensure you have insurance cover to ensure you can recover your goods and assets.