Fraudsters taking full advantage of COVID-19 crisis
South Africa – While we are all uncertain about what the future holds, fraudsters and scammers are preying on the fear and anxiety of South Africans.
According to a statement by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, scams include spoofed emails offering products such as masks, or fake offerings of vaccines that lead to phishing websites. These emails come from seemingly realistic and reputable companies which manipulate people into clicking on links. Some of these websites prompt the user for personal information which ends up in the hands of cybercriminals.
The scammers also prey on NPOs, desperate for funding. Fake NGOs with fake NGO certificates are popping up.
There are even some criminal elements who are visiting the homes of members of the public telling them to hand over banknotes in their possession because the banknotes have been contaminated with the coronavirus. These criminals carry fake South African Reserve Bank (SARB) identification and provide false receipts for the banknotes ‘collected’ which they purport can be cashed in at any of the banks. The SARB stated that they will not, under any circumstances, send employees or representatives to collect cash from the public. If members of the public are approached by individuals purporting to be SARB employees or representatives, to hand in their cash, they should refuse and contact local police.
Investec also sent out a statement noting that remote working has led to unprecedented digital dependency, and this has seen an increase in cyber fraud, with South Africa seeing a surge in digital attacks by criminals who are preying on our vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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