Beware of these scams


As people slow down in anticipation of the festive break, scammers are becoming busy.

Alet Griesel, chief risk officer at DirectAxis said, “The financial services company typically receives more reports about scams and fraud attempts towards the end of the year.”

According to Griesel, it is unclear as to why this time of year brings about more scams, however, it is believed that criminals take advantage of people who become less vigilant and relaxed ahead of the holidays, and criminals are aware that victims have more money due to year-end bonuses.

“Whatever the reason, you should always be vigilant about sharing personal information and be extra cautious during the festive season.”

DirectAxis provided five tips to stay safe during the upcoming festive season:

  • Never click on a link provided in an email or SMS. Scammers often send an email or SMS which seems to come from the bank, financial services or even Sars. These messages alert you of a payment, refund or ask to confirm banking details. The link takes you to a website that looks genuine but is fraudulent. As soon as you enter your details, the scammers gain your personal details. No reputable financial institution sends links to a bank account page via email or SMS.
  •  Never pay an upfront fee to secure a loan. Scammers send an email informing you that you qualified for a low-interest loan, but you need to pay a fee upfront for administrative, legal and other costs. It is often a limited time only and once you pay, you never receive the loan. If you are made an offer with an unbelievably low interest rate, do not believe it.
  •  Guard your personal details. Some scammers only want enough of your personal details such as your ID number, address and date of birth. This allows them to open fraudulent store or loan accounts. These scams work because they seem reasonable by asking to confirm certain details. Criminals are increasingly targeting loyalty programmes that airlines, banks and retailers offer. It is thought that criminals do this because people do not see rewards points as real money and are consequently less security conscious about this.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is, and is probably a con. The well-known scams are used repeatedly as they still catch people. One of the most common scams is the lottery scam where you are informed that you are a winner and have to provide banking details to claim the prize. The scammers assume that greed will overcome reason and that the anticipation of being rich will make people push aside any doubts about whether the request is authentic.
  • Do not be tempted by unfamiliar websites. Scammers know that people are looking for gifts at great prices and can set up fraudulent websites to try and con people out of their money. When shopping online or applying for a loan, always stick to known brands and rather type the brand or name into the browser than following a link in an email.

“If you do think someone has tried to scam you, report it, even if you have no intention of responding. You need to be constantly vigilant and if you’re not confident about an offer or if a request is genuine, always check first.”


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Chronicle Reporter

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