How South Africans can spot and avoid Scams

Posted by SAPAC Reporter on

How South Africans can spot and avoid scams

Prepared by : Independent 
Article Classification: Information
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How South Africans can spot and avoid Scams

Scams work because they look like the real thing and scammers contact you when you’re not expecting it, or busy trying to do many things at once.

Criminals take advantage of new technology, new products, new trends or services and major events. They use them to create believable stories that convince you to give them your money, financial or personal details. 

Always stop, think and check before you act. South African Scammers rely on you not spotting these warning signs because you're in a hurry, you don't want to miss something that looks like a great deal, or because it seems like it's from someone you trust.

You use Social Media to find Service Providers like Facebook or WhatsApp groups. 

What is a scam?

  • South African Scams are economic crimes run by "criminal syndicates" who are often very organized and sophisticated.

A scam is:

  • when someone deceives you into providing personal or financial information so they can steal from you.

A scam is NOT:

  • someone hacking your computer, device or account to steal from you
  • buying something that turns out to be poor quality
  • paying more than something is worth

Not all negative experiences are scams. While it's disappointing if you buy something that's not as described, it doesn't make it a scam. You have rights under the South African National Consumer Commission for these sorts of issues.

Common signs of a scam

It can be very hard to spot a scam, but there are some warning signs to watch for:

It looks like an amazing opportunity to make or save money

South African Scammers trick you into believing you’re getting an incredible deal or offer. They do pressure you to act quickly so you don’t miss out. Remember, deals that seem too good to be true, usually are. Some scammers take it slow so be watchful.

Someone that you have not met needs your assistance or money

South African Scammers try to use your good nature against you. They tell heartbreaking or tragic stories to convince you to help them and give them money. Always be wary of any appeal for money and never give more money than you are willing to lose if you can't independently confirm that the story is true.

The message contains attachments or links

Never just click a link or attachment you receive via email or text. Scammers will try to catch you off guard and send you to scam websites designed to steal your information and money.

Always make sure that the sender is who they say they are and that you know what you are opening. It's safest to find the information yourself by browsing to the website or app rather than clicking on a link.

You may check with SAPAC.

You feel somehow pressured to act immediately

South African Scammers don’t want you to take your time to think things through. They use techniques designed to catch you off guard and rush you, either saying if you don’t you’ll miss out or threatening that something bad will happen.

They ask you to pay in an unusual manner or specific way

If any person asks you to pay with preloaded debit card, google cards, or virtual crypto currency, chances are it's a scam. Once this money is spent, you can’t get it back.

They ask you to set up new accounts

If someone does ask you to set up a new bank account in order to pay them (or be paid by them), this is a clear sign you should be suspicious. It could be a money laundering scam. Your banking institution will never ask you to open new accounts to keep your money safe. Stop and check who you are dealing with.

Watch out for Follow Up Scams

If scammers have been successful, they will try to get more money. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 victims of a scam have been scammed more than once. If scammers have stolen your money, financial or personal information, watch out for new scams -  especially if someone contacts you to 'help you get your money back'.


Do not give personal information or money to anyone if unsure.

South African Scammers will offer to help you or ask you to verify you are. They will pretend to be from organizations you know and trust. Government departments, Police services, or Fraud Service. 


Always ask if this message or call can be fake?

Never click on a link or attachment. Only contact Government departments or organizations, Police Services or Fraud services through their official websites or through secure online applications. If you are not sure say no and hang up.   


Protect yourself if something feels wrong!

Contact you banking institution immediately if you notice irregular or unusual activity. Or if a scammer gets your information or money.


Seek immediate help and obtain immediately a Case number. Report to home affairs that your personal information has been stolen. You may also report such issues through the SAPAC Live Scam portal.

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