Avoid being cyber mugged
FINANCIAL SCAMS: SOUTH AFRICA A HOTBED
Social media-based scams are prevalent and effective in duping victims.
Consumer fraud is the second highest-ranking category of reported economic crime in SA and life insurance fraud has seen a recent spike. Insurance companies are being increasingly thorough and vigilant.
Multiple retrenchment applications from the same employer; natural death suspiciously soon after a life policy commences and opportunistic life policies taken against the imminent death of casual church or work acquaintances are some of the most common insurance scams.
A common scam is linked to funeral cover where the victim believes they’ve bought funeral cover. These “policies” are often sold face to face and premiums collected in cash. It’s often only when a loved one dies that the policy holder discovers they don’t have the cover they thought they did.
When buying insurance, know which insurance company will be paying out the claims and ensure it’s reputable. See the policy document before paying money.
Digital banking fraud
The most common digital banking frauds are unauthorised SIM swaps while you’re on your banking app, or voice phishing (vishing), where a fraudster persuades you over the phone to divulge confidential information related to your bank account, like your one-time password.
There appears to be a correlation between social isolation and becoming a victim of fraud. Financial illiteracy and desperation play a significant role.
Experts warn that social media-based scams are also highly prevalent and effective in duping victims. Ensure the authenticity of every communication you receive.
Some of SA’s most common types of online scams are:
Fake Facebook giveaway: Scammers lure victims with promises of outrageously generous prizes only to phish the personal and financial details of engagers. These scams usually attempt to mimic a popular brand or celebrity page. Ensure you deal with a Facebook-verified company page. Card not present fraud: This involves illegitimate online purchases without having a physical card or the card holder’s permission. Card details are usually acquired via data breaches, malware or phishing. Be cautious with your credit cards and only shop at reputable online stores. Watch your statements, and never give out credit card details in emails.
Advance-fee scam: This involves being offered a vast sum of money for a seemingly legitimate reason on condition that a small administrative fee is deposited and/or bank details furnished. Often scammers pose as financial service providers offering personal loans. Always check whether an alleged financial services provider has a genuine official website. Spelling and grammatical errors are a major red flag. A real registered credit provider would never ask for money upfront to confirm a loan.
WhatsApp scams: These virally spread links that appear to be from either an above-board business or WhatsApp itself. Clicking on the links allows fraudsters to infiltrate your device with malware. Be very wary of WhatsApp messages which offer prizes or discounts and must be spread among your contacts.
If you’ve been scammed report it and talk about it to your friends and family so they don’t fall victim.
Herman Lombard is founder and executive director of African Unity.
Spelling and grammatical errors are a red flag
ESCALATING. Digital banking fraud has increased dramatically and in 2018 amounted to R262 million in gross losses in SA.