While the trending scams in South Africa today may be a bit different to the Trending Scams in South Africa a few years ago, they’re just as prevalent as ever. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is currently investigating 19 potential deposit-based scams, and within the last five years over 5 000 advance-fee schemes have been reported. Consumers need to be aware of the most common scams, and how to guard themselves against them to keep their personal and financial information as safe as possible. Hippo.co.za has created a list of the most popular scams circulating at the moment.
Social Media scams, particularly Facebook scams have become increasingly common within the past few years. There are a variety of Facebook scams, but one of the most common is the fake Facebook giveaway. A fraudster will create a fake account, impersonating a well-known celebrity or brand to give it legitimacy. The account will offer an extremely tempting give-away or competition, and ask people to enter by liking and sharing the page and/or post. Once a person has liked and shared the details, the fraudster can attempt to connect with them and gain access to their personal and financial information in order to “claim” the prize, often through a survey.
How can you avoid being caught up in one of these scams? Below are a number of simple ways to detect whether or not a Facebook account is legitimate or not:
Card-not-present (CNP) fraud
CNP fraud is currently the biggest form of credit card fraud in South Africa. According to The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), CNP fraud accounts for 66.8% of all fraud cases tracked by them. CNP fraud occurs when an illegal transaction occurs online, without the use of a physical card and without the permission of the card holder. This type of fraud usually occurs through the purchase of goods online. Fraudsters gain access to important card related details via phishing, malware and breaches of data within systems that don’t make use of 3D-secure. This means that these transactions often occur in the United States or the UK.
While all South African banks comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards set by MasterCard and Visa, that ensures that all online transactions occur in a safe environment, there are a number of ways consumers can protect their credit card information online. Alfred Ramosedi, sales and marketing executive at African Bank suggests the following:
The advance-fee scam occurs when a victim is promised a large sum of money in exchange for a small upfront fee and their personal banking details. The victim is most often contacted via email or SMS and offered, for example, a loan. Once the victim has paid the fee, the fraudster either disappears or continues to promise more money in the near future in exchange for further upfront fees. The victim is then left having been robbed of their hard earned money, and having given fraudsters access to their banking details. Fraudsters often impersonate a loan provider in order to carry out this type of scam successfully. Consumers need to be able to spot these types of scams in order to avoid them.
WhatsApp is an incredibly popular messaging service in South Africa, and currently holds the top position as the most popular social media network in the country. This makes it an even more popular platform for fraudsters to try and make some money off its users. A variety of different scams have been reported by users whose numbers have been accessed through a company’s contact list.
A popular scam at the moment is conducted by sharing fake discounts or competitions to entice users to click on a link to claim the discount or enter the competition. The link often looks like a legitimate and well-known brand’s website, making it seem trustworthy. The message then gets shared across the platform from friend to friend, but clicking on it will install malware onto your device that can access your personal and banking details. WhatsApp asks users to watch out for the following messages:
While there are many more scams circulating South Africa at the moment, these four are currently the most popular and most discussed. One can easily become a victim without realising it, and the best way to prevent this from happening is to stay informed. If you suspect you or a friend have been scammed, you can officially report it to Scam Buster.
Disclaimer: The information is provided for informational purposes only. Neither Hippo nor its Affiliates will be held responsible for reliance on this information alone.