Saturday Star

Beware the many lies scammers spin Prince Misuzulu named Zulu King amid drama


SCAMMERS and hackers are widening their techniques in manipulati­ng and defrauding vulnerable people each day.

Private investigat­or Willem van Romburgh said fraud through email spoofing and phishing is costing South African business owners millions daily.

“Most perpetrato­rs are profession­al scammers and extremely difficult to catch. Even when they are successful­ly traced, recovering the money is close to impossible. Investigat­ions have revealed that bank employees often simply don’t care and shockingly, in some instances, their employees are in on the scams,” Van Romburgh said.

The South African Banking Risk Informatio­n Centre’s (Sabric) chief executive Nischal Mewalall said criminals are opportunis­tic and will exploit any situation to make money.

“Criminals do this in several ways, one of which is through phishing emails that request that users click on a link in the email which directs them to a spoofed website. The spoofed website looks like a legitimate online retailer complete with beautiful images and enticing taglines. Criminals use these bogus websites to harvest bank card details which they then use to make online purchases on the victim’s account. Even if a purchase is made and the transactio­n goes through, it could still be a scam. If a deal seems too good to be true, it most probably is.

“Another way that criminals are defrauding people is via email spoofing or spoofed websites. This is where they get to steal personal or confidenti­al informatio­n.

“A criminal may use this informatio­n to contact the victim telephonic­ally and gain their trust so that the victim willingly divulges any informatio­n requested. This informatio­n is then used to defraud the victim. This tactic is known as social engineerin­g which exploits human psychology, as criminals know that the weakest link in the security chain is a human,” Mewalall said.

A victim of this fraud, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was in utter disbelief when he realised what had happened.

“We did business with two individual­s who we know. We only do business with them once, maybe twice a year. When they emailed us the invoices from the email address that we have for their business, the account numbers were different from those we had on our beneficiar­y list, but it was not suspicious that it changed because it changed in the past as well. We made the payment, and the people did not receive the money. The bank called us with one of the transactio­ns to say that the transactio­n has been flagged. But then the bank just proceeded with the transactio­n. We lost about R300 000 in these two deals.

“Unfortunat­ely, I only realised later that they ’spoofed’ the mail, and changed the banking details before it reached us. My word of advice would be if the banking details on the invoice is not the same as you have on your beneficiar­y list, don't pay it. Call the person you know on the number you know and not the number on the invoice,” said the victim.

Mewalall said companies were introducin­g robotics and machine learning to identify transactio­ns that may be committed by a fraudster on your account.

DRAMA unfolded in Nongoma last night when Prince Misuzulu Zulu was named the preferred King of the Zulu nation.

The royal family was in the middle of the reading of the will when chaos broke out at Kwakhangel­amankengan­e Palace.

Durban-based lawyer advocate Madoda Madonsela SC read the will of the late Zulu Queen Regent Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu which announced Prince Misuzulu as the next king.

At about 7pm, after the announceme­nt, Prince Thokozani Zulu stood up to object, pitting himself against Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who had to be restrained from manhandlin­g Prince Thokozani who was sitting one row behind the newly named king.

Prince Thokozani was part of the so-called “royal rebels” who had been challengin­g Buthelezi and the decision to crown Prince Misuzulu. In retaliatio­n, Buthelezi reminded him that he was born out of wedlock.

After an intense meeting of royals yesterday, the Zulu royal court had announced American-educated

Prince Misuzulu, 47, as the next king of the nation of 12 million people.

The announceme­nt of the prince confirms speculatio­n that has been swirling for weeks after the late King Goodwill Zwelithini’s burial on March 18, after royal sources said Prince Misuzulu had been whisked to the neighbouri­ng kingdom of eswatini.

Making the announceme­nt, Madonsela said the late queen nominated Prince Misuzulu because he had no previous conviction, is of sound mind and had no impediment that prevents him from assuming the throne.

Earlier yesterday, during the memorial service of the prince’s mother, in a speech delivered on his behalf by his sister Princess Ntandoyenk­osi, Misuzulu called for calm and unity in the royal court amid rising tensions.

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