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The Latest Scams You Need to Be Aware of in 2023

Continue watching out for tried-and-true scams, such as romance and online purchase scams, but beware of modern twists. Scammers may incorporate a recent event or cryptocurrencies into their messages, and some are using new technology.

The South African scam landscape 

According to the Southern African Prevention Service (SAFPS), fraud impersonation increased by 337% in 2021, and crypto and Ponzi schemes cost South Africans more than R54 Billion. And as online retail continues to grow, so do these numbers.

The head of fraud at FNB Commercial, Roshan Jelal states: “it has become imperative for businesses to constantly keep up to date with the latest fraud scams and trends to avoid being victims. Moreover, most importantly, businesses should invest time, effort, and resources in equipping their employees to detect fraud efficiently and effectively.”

Here are some of the most common scams in Mzansi right now and some tips on how to avoid falling into the trap.

1. Advance-fee scam

This scam is when someone claims to provide a service or product but expects you to pay a fee upfront. You should always be cautious about this and do thorough research on trusted review platforms like Hellopeter before making any financial commitments prior to receiving a product or service.

How to avoid the advance-fee scam

  • Do your research on trusted review platforms like Hellopeter
  • Go to the business’s website and social media channels to see whether they exist and are active
  • Always be careful of paying upfront when it’s your first time using the supplier
  • Double-check their contact details and physical address to see if they’re a legitimate business
  • Consider signing a Service Level Agreement before making a payment to offer some legal protection

2. ATM scam

Some South Africans accept help from strangers when trying to withdraw money from an ATM. As a result, the scamster might swap your card with another one or see your PIN, which could give them remote access to your account.

How to avoid the ATM scam

  • Never accept help from strangers at an ATM
  • Remain vigilant of anyone around you while using an ATM
  • Never give your card or PIN to anyone else 

3. Job Scam

Unfortunately, due to our high unemployment rate, job scams are prevalent in our country. Usually, scamsters will post a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ opportunity on job portals. Then, when applicants respond, the scamsters ask them to meet up and rob them. Alternatively, they ask for an application/processing fee or request personal documents like your ID to steal your identity.

How to avoid the job scam

  • Do your research to check that the company has a website and active social media channels
  • Check trusted online review platforms like Hellopeter 
  • Be cautious of job posts where the salary does not match the work, where there’s an urgency to hire immediately or if they request any fee
  • Only meet up in a public place or at their office. Check the address and whether the business exists before agreeing to meet up
  • If you never applied for the position, ask them where they got your contact details

4. Remote access scam

This scam is when someone tries to access your cellphone or laptop device through remote access tools. They will often try to contact you on your phone or via email, claiming to be your internet or financial service provider. They will tell you that there has been suspicious activity or that you have a virus, and then they will ask you to give them access through apps like Teamviewer. This will share your screen with them, giving them access to everything on your device.

How to avoid the remote access scam

  • Never allow someone to access your device remotely
  • Don’t share your passwords and login details with anyone
  • Don’t use public WiFi to access your banking app or sensitive personal data
  • Delete any unused access tools like Teamviewer if it’s still on your devices
  • Be careful when opening suspicious emails
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewalls updated
  • Contact your service provider directly if you’ve encountered any suspicious activity

5. Charity scam

Don’t let scamsters tug at your heartstrings by claiming they’re from a charity. They often research your interests on social media, contacting you and asking you to donate.

How to avoid the charity scam

  • Always research the charity first by checking their website and online social media presence
  • Be careful of cash donations or untraceable donations like gift cards, or if they push you to donate immediately 
  • Look for a physical address and contact details and verify these by calling them and checking their location on Google Maps
  • Check for online reviews or social media posts warning others about the charity 

6. Debt collection scam

This scam is when someone tries to get access to your financial records. Be cautious when someone contacts you claiming to be a court or business representative and demanding payment for an outstanding debt or if someone claims to be a debt review service agency.

How to avoid the debt collection scam

  • Be on high alert if the person demands immediate payment and threatens you with legal action
  • Block the call if someone is repeatedly calling you, is calling at odd hours, and is being rude with no telephone etiquette 
  • Alert your financial institution if you notice they seem to have access to private information about your financial records or activity

How to avoid the debt collection scam

  • Be on high alert if the person demands immediate payment and threatens you with legal action
  • Block the call if someone is repeatedly calling you, is calling at odd hours, and is being rude with no telephone etiquette 
  • Alert your financial institution if you notice they seem to have access to private information about your financial records or activity

Stay Alert South Africa

Remember that when something seems too good to be true, it more than likely is! Rather be cautious to avoid any regret. 

It often comes down to doing a simple search on hellopeter.com and Google to research the service providers you’re considering.

Hellopeter-registered businesses are organised by Trust IndexIndustry Ranking and Net Promoter Score for full transparency, ensuring you have the information and insight needed to steer clear of scams and fake businesses.

Article: Hellopeter

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