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Keep watch of these five scams

Jan 05 2017 19:01
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Over the past year, consumers have lost thousands to money schemes.

Fin24 previously reported that the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) launched a national campaign, “Easy come. Easy go,” to fight these schemes. Among the most common tricks used include Ponzi and pyramid schemes, which requires deposit taking.

Other schemes, called “advance-fee” or “419 scams” promise victims significant amounts of money, through loans at low interest rates. But victims are required to make “upfront” payments to release the loan, explained Eckhard Volker, managing director of Integrated Forensic Accounting Services.

READ: Sarb warns South Africans of scams

In 2015, the Sarb investigated 41 illegal deposit-taking schemes. Of these, 28 were carried over from previous years and it includes 13 new schemes. Currently, the Sarb is investigating 19 suspected illegal deposit-taking schemes. Over 5 000 advance-fee scams have been reported to the Sarb in the past five years.

Scamsters often use authority figures such as religious leaders to punt their scams. It is also becoming quite common for scamsters to use well-known brands, and financial institutions as a “front” for these schemes.

A number of Fin24 users have alerted us to the scams doing the rounds. Fin24 has compiled a list of scams to look out for, especially over the festive season:

1. Naspers share trades

In November, Naspers issued a fraud alert to warn South Africans of a scam promising  high returns on share trades made on their behalf. The scam promises 100% return on investment within an hour. People are required to make a deposit in a third party account. Once the transfer is made, the funds disappear.

READ: Naspers issues scam alert

2. Old Mutual loans

This money scheme targets black-listed consumers under the pretext of being Old Mutual. The scheme offers clients loans from R20 000 to R20m, at a fixed interest rate of 5%. There are no credit checks. A person who goes by the name of Melissa Green, poses as a loan applicant consultant, who is also part of the marketing and sales team.

Old Mutual group communications manager Ursula van der Westhuizen told Fin24 that the financial services company was alerted to the scam. A statement was issued on the grou[‘s website to warn the public about fraudsters using the company's branding to offer loans and investment opportunities. Old Mutual also opened a case of fraud with the South African Police Services (Saps) in Pinelands.

READ: Money scam targeting consumers using Old Mutual as a front

3. Stream Knowledge Finance

This money scheme claims to help blacklisted consumers acquire loans between R10000 and R30m at a fixed rate of 5%. Loans are granted between 24 and 48 hours. It also offers loans in pounds and dollars. A catch is that the financial service offers the number for their registration with the National Credit regulator (NCR).

However, they are not registered with the Financial Services Board (FSB), which ensures such entities comply with regulations. The loan department is headed by a so-called Reverend Joe Stewart, who denied it was a scam when confronted by Fin24.

Read: Warning over money scheme for blacklisted consumers

4. Post Office winnings scam

This is a version of a 419 scam. People receive a sealed package with a certificate claiming that a large deposit has been made in a Postbank account. To activate the account to claim winnings, the victim mist pay a certain amount of cash into another account.

READ: Post Office warns of big new money scam

5. Sars small business scam

Scamsters posing as the South African Revenue Service (Sars) approach small business enterprises and demand outstanding payments or undeclared taxes. They also demand money to wipe off debts.

People with queries are directed to contact Sars at 0800 00 7277 (0800 00 Sars) to validate their tax status. Taxpayers should also report any suspicious activity at the Sars Anti-Corruption and Fraud Hotline at 0800 00 2870, toll free.

READ: Watch out for new scam, Sars warns small businesses

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

finance  |  scam  |  festive season  |  pyramid scheme  |  money  |  fraud


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