Top 10 Scams In South Africa

The top 10 scams in South Africa

Unfortunately, scammers don’t rest in this day and age and so it’s become important to know how and where they’ll try to scam you next.

Cybercrime is costing South Africa millions every year, even though the scammers have to work hard to get a “hit”. Fortunately, most people question the strange questions they get from scammers, but there are still people that fall for it, that’s why there will always be scammers trying to make a quick buck.

So remember these four rules, and you’ll always avoid falling for the “bait”

  • When something sounds way too good to be true, trust your gut because it most probably is.
  • When receiving an e-mail, SMS or a phone call that requests personal information (a specially when it’s in the form of a threat to your account being suspended due to some third-party interference).
  • Never take part in some sort of “sale of goods”, “survey”, “competition”, “lottery” or “inheritance” scheme that requires any personal info over the phone or via e-mail.
  • If you’re the one selling something, confirm the payment with your bank first before you give the “buyer” the goods. Also remember, if you don’t remember entering a competition of any kind or buying a lottery ticket, you haven’t won anything.

Relatively easy don’t you think. Here are the top 10 scams, you should find this very interesting:

Personal Loans Scam

Fraudsters are acting as legitimate personal loan providers to rob consumers out of their well-deserved money this year, as discovered by the Like money team.


Most people are familiar with phishing. Fake e-mails aren’t sent out by scammers. They claim to be from a bank like ABSA, FNB and so on. Then you have to confirm various things online to confirm all your details etc. They do this to gain full access to your bank account.


This would be the SMS version of Phishing. Believe it or not, but South Africa has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the world, and it’s a wide open field. You have probably also received an SMS requesting that you have to verify your account, or an alarmist message stating that you have to make a call rather than visiting are link. The person that answers the phone is a fraudster and is after your personal information, ID number and even, your pin code. Always remember, a bank will never ask you for your pin code over the phone.

False payment confirmations:

Junk mailers know this scam as the “SMS Payment confirmation scam”. Basically, a fake SMS is sent out as a confirmation payment SMS and it always appears to be from your bank. One of the best ways to avoid being caught is to first check if money has been paid into your account. Never give your goods unless you’re 100% sure that you did receive the payment.

Unethical app download charges:

Scammers and unethical developers are making use of premium-rated SMSes to defraud people with mobile apps they download onto their phones. Even Google removed 22 apps from Google Play because they conned people into agreeing to premium charges. The best and first line of defence against any kind of SMS fraud is to check through your phone bill every month for any unusual amounts being deducted. Also, only download the popular apps to avoid being scammed.

SIM Swops:

The scammer already has your cell number and can get enough info to request a SIM swop from your network operator. By doing this, they have access to both your bank account details and the SMS card that’s needed to complete any transactions. Luckily South Africa caught this very quickly and increased security surrounding SIM swops, so this kind of fraud is decreasing.

Credit Card Skimming:

This problem is global. This usually takes place when the fraudster somehow captures your card data on devices similar to those used for legitimate point-of-sale or ATM transactions. These devices are made to fit nicely over the card slot on ATMs and may even include a camera to record your PIN code. The point where they do this is when you hand over your card to do the transaction, so never let your card out of your sight and when entering your pin, cover the pin pad if it doesn’t have a cover.

Unscrupulous subscription services:

Because we’re all cell phone users, this affects us all. So take not of wireless application service providers (WASP) as they can bill any South African cell number and can even detect and record any cell number on your phone if you’re browsing their websites using your phone. On a cell phone, all they need to bill you is your cell number, which is scary when you think about it. Make sure that you check your phone charges every month for anything that looks strange or any unknown charges or subscriptions that you don’t know.

Counterfeit merchandise:

When you’re buying anything expensive, be on the lookout as this is a big business online. This can be from fake shoes to fake gems. Never just buy expensive items unless you get it from an actual store you know, or a trusted online store. You can always google a store to see if it’s legit or fake.

Microsoft Scam:

Here the scammers call you on your landline or cell phone, claiming to be working for Microsoft. Then they tell you that they’ve picked up a problem with your home computer. They will then ask you questions and ask you to do things on your computer to sort out this “Problem”. They do this to gain access to your computer remotely, and then they’ll have access to all your personal info. They can even tell you things like, you’ve won a Microsoft competition, and they need your credit card info in order to validate your account. In some cases, people receive Microsoft e-mails requesting that you update your security. These are all scams, don’t get caught by this.

There you go, the top 10 scams that’s currently running in South Africa. Should you have experienced this in your own life or know of someone that was caught by a scam, share it with us so we can make other South Africans aware of it. Maybe you have a few good ideas on how to avoid these scams or would just like to comment, whatever the case we’d love to hear from you.

Top 10 Scams In South Africa
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Top 10 Scams In South Africa
Unfortunately, scammers don’t really rest in this day and age and so it’s become important to know how and where they’ll try to scam you next. Heads up, it’s not really that surprising but how they convince you that it’s real will shock you.
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