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By Adriaan Kruger

Moneyweb: Freelance journalist

Latest email and social media scams exploit emotion and crisis

The newest scams involve people asking for donations to help the poor Palestinians in Gaza.

Recent social media and email scams seem to have taken a turn for the worse. It looks like crooks have lost the last bit of shame in their efforts to make a few bucks.

The first irking scam uses a fake video of Johann Rupert, chair of SA-based Remgro and Swiss-based luxury goods company Richemont, in which he is supposedly talking in a very emotional manner about his father. The late Anton Rupert was well-known for helping others during his lifetime.

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The message is that Johann will help you too – if you invest R4 800 in an online trading programme.

The crooks promise that “South Africans no longer need to work”.

‘Opportunities’ in derivatives, forex and crypto

Various bucket shops use this video to solicit investments into high-risk derivative, foreign exchange and cryptocurrency trading, often domiciled in Cyprus or Malaysia.

These “brokers” are not registered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in SA, and get very angry if you insist that it is illegal for them to offer financial services in SA unless registered as a financial service provider (FSP) locally.

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Or maybe they get angry because I register to invest and keep them talking for 20 minutes when they call to clinch the deal, but then refuse to give them my credit card number.


The newest scams involve people asking for donations to help the poor Palestinians in Gaza – using a gmail address and asking for donations in bitcoin. Currently, many scams misuse the Ukraine war to make money by sending out appeals to help the suffering women and children in the war-torn country.

One example of the callousness of scammers:

“Dear Sir/Ma,


“I hope this message finds you well and in good health? I don’t know how you are celebrating in this second quarter of the year…but I imagine there is food.… maybe even too much food.

“But as we look back with fondness on our merriment, we need to remember that there is another side to the Season in the year.

“Somewhere in Ukraine, a child is crying for food. A mother has nothing to offer. A father is ashamed because he can’t provide due to the War going on there. A grandpa, all alone in the world, has no food to put on the table.

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“Hunger is real. It’s not just a “concept.” Not a mere statistic. It’s real life. It’s the stress of getting through every single day.

“It’s the agonizing question: Where will I find enough to eat in this war torn country?” according to the email.

“My prayer today is that you will help. The Centre Project Teams provide urgently needed RELIEF for children and adults, families and individuals, in this war-torn Ukraine. God has blessed you so much. I only ask today that you share some portion of your God-given blessings … to express His love to the poor of Ukraine now.”

The email says a “loving gift” of $100 will provide nutritious food and other relief for 10 children and adults.

“Could you give $200, to provide for 20? Or $350, to provide for 35? Maybe even more?” they plead.

“The more you give, the more relief we’ll be able to share with people in need,” they add, giving the particulars of a bitcoin wallet and an email address to send gift cards.

The general

The next day I got an email from general Ivan Svyda, ground forces commander in Ukraine, with an enticing offer:

“Hello Sir!

“I am General Ivan Svyda, Ground Forces Commander, Ukraine. A large sum of $35 million United States dollars (US$35,000,000.00) was discovered and seized by the batalion[sic] under my control, during one of our raids and operations in Russian strongholds of Sevastopol, Ukraine.

“As a general commander, I have got the mandate and authority to control seized items, and the love and conscience I have for the starving, stranded and dying Ukrainian children didn’t allow me to destroy these very huge sum of money as it will be widely beneficial to the survivors of Ukrainian children scattered in various mercy and pitiful refugee camps across the globe.

“Innocent children are massacred daily by president Vladmir[sic] Putin’s soldiers in this ongoing unreasonable war of Russian aggression and invasion of Ukraine. We’re pushing very hard on counter-offensives and I am in the front line, as such, my safety is not guaranteed.

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“I was able to move the large sum safely via the assistance of one of our security channels to a Financial Security Deposit Company where it was safely and securely deposited as ‘FISCAL BONDS’ with UNKNOWN as the beneficiary and next of kin, only to be released to the holder of the LDC and Reference security numbers which I will furnish you with on your fast response to start and file the process of claims with the security holding firm as my representative and beneficiary.

“I stumbled on your information in my palm computer when I was going through our military logistics softwares and logs,” he says in the the email.

“… and I had to send this note to you because there’s no time to look further in the war front lines in which I am a front line commander here in Ukraine.

“I am to believe you’re trust-worthy and please for God’s sake and for the sake of humanity, I plead you ensure you use at least 75% percent of these funds for the surviving poor children of Ukraine scattered and tattered all over refugee camps in the world.

“I officially retired from the military on 29 May, 2010 but, I volunteered and was called up again to serve because of this act of war, terrorism and unreasonable Russian aggressions and invasion of Ukraine Federation. If I can serve humanity in my own capacity you can too!

“I look out for your reply soon!”

The solution

These emotional appeals convinced me to help.

I forwarded the general’s email to the relief centre.

And the relief centre’s pleas to the general.

This article was republished from Moneyweb. Read the original here

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