This time of year consumers are warned to be extremely wary of scams, as criminals are typically more active during and following the festive season. According to a well-known financial services company, they usually receive more reports about scams and fraud attempts towards the end of the year and early January. This is due to the fact that we let our guard down ahead of the summer and generally have more money in the bank due to year-end bonuses. This article will cover how to prevent fraud before you find yourself falling victim to scammers.
In order for scammers to obtain your personal details, they send an email or SMS which seems like it is from a bank, SARS or financial services company stating that you need to confirm your details or that payment or refund has taken place. A link in the email takes you to a fake lookalike website. Once you enter your account details and pin, the scammers can access your account.
Cyber criminals pretend to be legitimate financial services companies and they send you an email saying you have qualified for a low-interest personal loan. They state that you need to secure the loan by paying an upfront admin fee, legal or other costs. This offer is often only available for a limited time to pressure you into making the payment.
Some scammers are just after enough of your personal details to open a fraudulent store or loan account. These details include your ID number, address and date of birth. Scammers pose as employees of a financial institution, retailer or online shop and ask you to confirm some information. The scam seems to work because the request sounds reasonable.
Some of the most well-known scams are continuously being used because people still fall for them no matter how often they are warned. The lottery scam is one of these. You are notified that you have won the lottery and how to provide your banking details or pay a fee for admins costs to claim the prize.
As South Africans increasingly shop online, it is important to be very careful of fraudulent websites. You should stick with well know brands when doing transactions online.