Beware! Fake TikTok account impersonating deputy minister

Government has warned about a fake Tiktok account impersonating Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation deputy minister, Pinky Kekana.

Government has warned about a fake Tiktok account impersonating Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation deputy minister, Pinky Kekana.

Published Jan 7, 2024


The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) is cautioning members of the public about a fake TikTok account impersonating deputy minister, Pinky Kekana.

According to the department, the TikTok account “Pinky_Kekana3” has been fraudulently using the deputy minister’s name and photos to promote fake trading lessons.

“Disseminating untrue promises of teaching clients to trade and quickly make amounts ranging from R56 000 to R67 000, is false and intended to swindle and scam innocent citizens. For the record, Deputy Minister Kekana does not have a TikTok account and the Ministry and DPME do not offer any educational trading programmes about making money.

“Therefore, the public and stakeholders are urged to desist from following or communicating with the TikTok account ‘Pinky_Kekana3’ to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous fraudsters,” the department said.

This case and others have shown the risks associated with social media, providing a platform to many to hide their true identity with the goal of exploiting the public.

According to experts, an alarming surge in social media scams have been witnessed in recent years.

In South Africa and around the world, cybercriminals are exploiting the widespread use of social media platforms to perpetrate their illicit activities.

While the most common forms of social media scams involve phishing, fake profiles, and financial fraud, there is a more targeted and insidious threat lurking for high-level business executives.

Last year a case of a “fake doctor” who used social media to become influential also gained considerable attention. The TikTok influencer -- who went by the name Dr Matthew Lani -- regularly shared medical advice on the social media platform. However, it was later discovered that he was not a qualified doctor and also not currently employed in the profession.

Dean Vorster, chief technology officer at Zinia, an IT technology group, said: “Recognising the signs of a fake social media account is crucial in protecting yourself from scammers as this is their point of entry where they will begin their attack.”

Vorster’s tips to help identify fake profiles include:

Friend Requests and Followers: Be cautious of sudden friend requests or followers from unfamiliar accounts, even if they have followed someone you know, do not accept their requests blindly. Scammers will use these tactics to gain access to your network.

Profile: Check the profile information thoroughly. Fake accounts often have incomplete or inconsistent details. Look for discrepancies in names, locations, and job titles.

Picture: Examine the profile picture closely. Fake accounts frequently use stock photos or stolen images from the internet. Conduct a reverse image search if you suspect foul play.

Activity and Engagement: Fake accounts typically have minimal activity and engagement. Be wary of profiles with a limited number of posts, followers, or connections.

Content Quality: Assess the quality of content shared by the account. Fake profiles often post generic or low-quality content. Look for unusual or inconsistent language use.

Cape Times