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Cape Town - Forensic investigation company IRS said last year had a marked increase in fraud, especially involving cybercrime.

IRS forensic investigators have investigated many cases and have shared some fraud indicators to look out for:

Many fraudsters are using the current cryptocurrency craze to dupe people into investing in non-existent schemes.

Another type of fraud doing the rounds is fraudsters convincing victims to invest in non-existent forex trading platforms.

Always ask someone giving financial advice if they are Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act compliant. Ask for their financial service provider registration number and check with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.

Check that any stokvel you plan to invest with is registered with The National Stokvel Association of SA.

Fraudsters targeting individuals for their hard-earned money are more prolific now than ever. Be wary of get-rich-quick schemes.

Fraudsters are sociopaths with no conscience. They will not hesitate to smooth-talk you into investing life savings or pension money.

“Remember that we call fraudsters con artists because they are confident and convincing.

“If you suspect you or a friend or family member is a victim of a scam report it,” said director at IRS Forensic Investigations, Chad Thomas.

Details at www.irsa.co.za/contact

How to stay safe

Secure your PIN and password

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has shared the following tips:

  • Be suspicious if you receive lots of spam email or SMS messages. It could indicate that your computer or cellphone has been infected.
  • Memorise your PIN and passwords and never write them down or share them, not even with a bank official.
  • Make sure your PIN and passwords cannot be seen when you enter them.
  • If you think your PIN and/or password has been compromised, change it immediately either online or at your nearest branch.
  • Choose an unusual PIN and passwords that are hard to guess and change them often.
  • For your security, you only have three attempts to enter your PIN and password correctly before you are denied access to your services.
  • Register for your bank’s cellphone notification service and receive electronic messages relating to activities or transactions on your accounts as and when they occur.
  • If the reception on your cellphone is lost, immediately check what the problem could be, as you could have been a victim of an illegal SIM swop on your number.
  • If confirmed, notify your bank immediately.
  • Inform your bank should your cellphone number change so that your cellphone notification contact number is updated on the banking system.
  • Regularly verify whether the details received from cellphone notifications are correct and correspond to recent activity on your account.
  • Should any detail appear suspicious, contact your bank immediately and report all log-on notifications that are unknown to you.
  • Log on to your bank’s website by typing in the web address yourself instead of accessing it via Google search as it might lead you to a spoofed site.
  • Do not use web links that are saved under your favourites and never access your bank’s website from a link in an email or SMS.
  • Remember to log off immediately when you have finished banking.
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