Online fraud is a growing threat that preys on especially the poor and desperate members of the community, like a Gauteng mother who got thousands of rand from a loan shark to secure her son’s place in a professional soccer team.
While social media has become a minefield of scams, police are also warning about the increase in online banking fraud where thieves pose as bank employees to get victims to divulge personal information so they can get access to their bank accounts.
Several victims have shared their stories of how they were scammed online in the hopes that it might warn somebody else from falling into the same trap.
No soccer glory and a loan shark looking for his money
Swaphiwe Tulumane told the Fourways Review that he was training for a soccer match during the school holidays when a guy approached him and offered him a spot in the SuperSport United Football Club.
“I was so happy. He told me I had to pay a R5 000 joining fee. My parents and I had to sacrifice everything because everyone was so happy about this opportunity.
“My mother went to a loan shark to get the money. After we gave it to the guy, he never came back.
Paid 70% but no iPhone
Zipho Mjongile says he saw a post on Facebook advertising an iPhone 11 for sale. He texted the seller, who wanted R9 000 for the phone.
“They said I must pay 50% and later the seller said I must pay another 20% to get the phone. I could then pay off the rest of the money later.
“I paid the money and the seller blocked me. I lost R5 400 and I didn’t get the iPhone.”
Make sure it is really your friend asking for money
Ntokozo Ntshinga says she was scammed earlier this year when a friend texted her asking to borrow R800.
“I didn’t even bother to call her. I transferred the money but later found out that it was not her. Someone hacked her WhatsApp account.”
Metro cop job scam
Lilitha Ludaka recalls how he was desperate for a job after finishing Grade 12.
“Someone told me that the metro police were hiring but that many people are applying for the job. He said that if I paid R6 000 he will make things easy for me.
“I paid him the money and he asked me to bring a copy of my ID, my clothes sizes and my matric results to a specific place. I did, but after waiting for him to call which he did not, I realised it was a scam.”
A friend’s forex trading secrets not all it set out to be
Thandolwethu Masiso says he was broke and unemployed when his friend told him about making money with forex trading.
“He showed me evidence that forex trading can pay off in an instant and told me to gather R1 200 to start trading. But he was lying to me. I deposited the R1 200 into his account and he blocked me on all his social media accounts.
Online banking fraud on the increase
To add to the threat of online scams, online banking fraud cases have also been rising. Several such cases have been reported at the Douglasdale Police Station in Johannesburg in recent months.
According to the police, the modus operandi of these perpetrators involves luring unsuspecting victims into transferring large sums of money following suspicious phone calls or text messages.
The rise of digital transactions and online banking has undoubtedly made financial transactions more convenient. However, it has also opened up new avenues for criminals to exploit unsuspecting individuals.
In recent times, there has been a surge in cases where fraudsters impersonate bank officials or representatives from reputable organisations. They use various techniques to gain the trust of their victims before manipulating them into transferring funds.
Police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuwi says, “The perpetrators pretend to be a bank employee and indicate to the victim that there is a suspicious transaction on his or her account, the victim then subsequently shares their banking details with the perpetrator. Shortly after large amounts of money are then fraudulently transferred out of the victim’s account.”
The consequences of falling victim to such scams can be devastating. Victims not only suffer financial losses but also endure emotional distress and a loss of trust in the banking systems. the impacts are far-reaching and can take a significant toll on individuals and their families.
The police in Gauteng appeal to all community members to guard against online banking scams. Also, bank employees will never request personal information from their clients telephonically or via SMS.
To combat this growing threat, the police are urging community members to remain vigilant.
Here are a few tips:
- Verify the authenticity of any communication received, especially if it involves financial transactions.
- It is essential to remember that legitimate banks and organisations will never ask for personal or financial information over the phone or through text messages.
- If individuals receive any suspicious calls or messages, they should contact their local police stations immediately.
- Reporting such incidents promptly helps police to gather crucial evidence and build cases against these fraudsters.
- Additionally, spreading awareness about these scams within the community can help prevent others from falling prey to these criminals.
“Community members are encouraged to report criminal activities to their nearest police station, SAPS Crime Stop on 0860010111 or anonymously through the MySAPS App,” says Nevhuwi.
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