Recent research by Columinate found that fraud was at an all-time high, with almost a quarter of digital banking users falling victim to scams, the most prevalent of which were advanced fee loans, pre-qualified loans or credit card scams. Despite their prevalence, many people are still unaware of the risks these scams pose, and, as the economy shrinks and unemployment surges, desperation makes people easy targets.
The South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), a not-for-profit organisation specialising in fraud prevention, receives hundreds of calls from the victims of advanced fee scams, many who have lost large sums of moneyp.
Manie van Schalkwyk, the chief executive of the SAFPS, says: “Once a consumer has handed their money over to these criminals, there is really nothing we can do, which is why it’s so important that consumers know how to identify and avoid scams before they become victims.”
These scams seem to target people who have money problems or impaired credit ratings, drawing them in with the promise of large sums of cash in exchange for a relatively small upfront fee.