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Money scam targeting consumers using Old Mutual as a front

Oct 21 2016 18:44
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – A money scheme targeting black-listed consumers under the pretence of being Old Mutual is doing the rounds again.

The scheme offers clients loans from R20 000 to R20m, at a fixed interest rate of 5%. There are no credit checks. You simply have to send details such as a name, ID number, phone number and monthly income.

In an emailed response, Old Mutual group communications manager Ursula van Der Westhuizen told Fin24 that the bank was alerted about it last year. Old Mutual subsequently issued a statement on its website to warn the public about fraudsters using the company’s branding to offer loans and investment opportunities.

Stuart Marshall, CEO of Old Mutual Finance, said scammers use high-profile brand names in their schemes to dupe recipients. “In South Africa, most of the major banks and financial institutions have had their brand names used in this manner.”

Marshall said there has been no “reputational harm” to Old Mutual as a result of the scam. The financial institution has an active cyber-security awareness programme to alert customers and employees to scams of this nature in addition to getting email accounts closed, phone numbers blacklisted and websites shut down, he added.

Old Mutual is unable to ascertain the exact number of people affected by this particular scam. “Consumers caught out by tricksters are often too embarrassed to come forward and admit it,” he said. On average, 10 cases per month have been reported for 2016.

“There was an increase in reported incidents during September, and we predict that opportunistic scammers will be increasing their fraudulent activities in the next few months leading up to the festive season,” he said.

When Fin24 contacted the “scammer” who goes under the alias of Melissa Green, she did not deny that it is a scam. "Green" asked Fin24 where we had received complaints from. Upon learning that it was flagged by Old Mutual, she responded: “Yes, it is a scam.”

READ: Sarb warns South Africans of scams

The email which is being sent out to target consumers.

Tips to spot a scam

Old Mutual issued some pointers for consumers to spot a fraudulent money scheme. These include being wary of loans offered via email. Consumers should also watch out for a request for an upfront administration fee. Other tips are:

  • Look out for suspicious or unexpected emails.
  • Remember that online offers that look too good to be true, usually are.
  • Be aware of how cybercriminals manipulate their victims. They may, for instance, impersonate someone or pretend to be from your bank.
  • Never open an email you don’t trust.
  • Never click on links in suspicious or unexpected emails from people you don’t know.
  • Be suspicious of anybody asking for sensitive or personal information and never disclose this kind of information to strangers.
  • Choose a strong password, change it regularly and don’t share it.
  • Only insert removable devices like memory sticks and hard drives if you trust the source.

ALSO READ: Warning over money scheme for blacklisted consumers 

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

old mutual  |  scam  |  blacklisted  |  credit  |  money


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