You can’t avoid being online, whether you’re using a convenient supermarket delivery App or doing your online banking. While most of these platforms are safe to use, the internet makes it easy for scammers to defraud, mislead and trick people into giving away their money and personal information. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the potential risks and to always make sure you know who you're dealing with. 

    Fraudulent ‘for sale’ ads

    Scammers advertise their “products/items/goods” for sale across various social media platforms along with fake reviews to entice victims. When the victim responds, the scammer provides banking details. But as soon as the victim transfers the money and provides proof of payment, the scammer disappears, is no longer active on social media, and their contact details are inactivated. This scam may also include ads for sale of vehicles that are non-existent.

    Fake funeral policies

    Scammers thrive on people’s vulnerability, offering fake funeral policies that require the victim to contribute monthly. But once the victim makes a claim they find out the policy does not exist, even though they’ve been making monthly payments – and by then it’s too late.

    Fake Apps

    Fraudsters employ a variety of fake mobile Apps to spread viruses. The fake Apps sometimes imitate legitimate Apps in order to trick users into downloading them. These fake Apps download malware, spyware and ransomware with the purpose of infecting/ taking control of a victim’s mobile device.

    Online deposit / refund scams 

    In response to an online advert fraudsters may order the advertised goods and undertake to make payment into the sellers bank account. The fraudster subsequently shares a falsified proof of an online payment to trick the seller into believing that a payment has been made. This is followed by requests for the goods to be uplifted / dispatched to the fraudster or a request for a refund to be made on the basis that the fraudster has had a change of heart i.e. no longer interested in purchasing the advertised goods.

    Ecommerce scam websites

    Scammers may also resort to using the latest technology to set up fake retailer websites that look like genuine online stores. They may use sophisticated designs and layouts, stolen logos and even the same or similar URL’s (addresses) and domain names. These scam e-commerce sites exist only for a short period of time during which they defraud victims by charging amounts against their credit cards and may also harvest financial and personal information of individuals.

    Malware (malicious software)

    Not every site, advert, offer, or person you encounter while surfing online is necessarily genuine. Sites may contain malware that is downloaded onto your device just by clicking on the ad or visiting the website. This can then lead to all sorts of attacks, for example, by using key loggers that let scammers see what keys you’re typing on your keyboard to steal passwords and other information. They may also have installed ransomware to blackmail you. Don’t be a victim – be careful what you click on, update your device’s software, and ensure you have the latest antivirus software and security patches installed.

    dating scam

    Online dating/romance scams  

    Scammers target unsuspecting victims of all genders via dating sites. Once the scammer has established contact and communication is ongoing, they start requesting assistance from the victim in the form of money for travelling, living expenses, data or airtime.

    For more tips on fraud prevention, read Vodacom's My Security FAQs