South African Social Media Scams

Posted by SAPAC Reporter on

South African Social Media Scams

Prepared by : Independent 
Article Classification: Ways Scammers reach You
Image courtesy: SAPAC Professionals and Contractors


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South African Social Media Scams

Be suspicious of anyone who contacts you out of the blue on social media scams losses are on the rise here.

South African reported losses tremendous losses to social media scams last year it is up 356% on the year before.

Scammers set up fake profiles on social media,  messaging platforms and apps like WhatsApp including Telegram. They pretend to be from the government, a real business, employer, investment firm, or even a friend, family member or romantic interest. This does creates issues for real business with the NCC- National Consumers Commission. 

They may:

  • using the same logos of real organizations or photo of the person they are pretending to be to make the scam harder to spot.
  • impersonate famous people to 'recommend' goods or services
  • create fake identities to befriend you and win your trust.
  • offer specialized services in the professional and contracting sphere
  • answer your social media queries leading yourself to endangering yourself with poor workmanship
  • market incorrect "self named contractors" that will lead you to lose money and endangering your own life.

Scammers can also learn a lot about you from details you share on your social media accounts. They create quizzes or posts designed to deceive you into sharing personal information. They use this information to guess your account passwords or target you with other scams. It is extremely easy and sometimes they pose as self proclaimed marketers.

Warning signs it might be a scam

Stop and think. It could be a scam if the post or message:

  • suggest a famous person endorses or supports a product or service
  • come from someone you have only met online and urgently ask for money to help with a legal, medical, or business situation
  • threatens to share a private image unless you pay them money.
  • Breaks the law with certain social media groups like naming and shaming practices
  • Impersonating businesses with a play of words and language

Social media scammers use common scam tactics such as:

  • asking for deposits up front without a first initial meeting
  • saying someone will buy something you are selling without seeing it first and at a high price
  • comes with excuses of vehicle issues and or problems 
  • saying they live overseas and can’t meet you in person.
  • offering items for sale at significantly reduced prices than usual compared to other sites.
  • offering you a way to make quick, easy money with little risk or effort
  • inviting you to enter a competition or limited time offer.

Steps you can take to protect yourself

These simple steps can help prevent loss of money or personal information to scams.

Make sure the person or business entity is who they say they are

  • If it is a contracting or professional firm first check with SAPAC - Professionals and Contractors.
  • Be wary if a job is offered to you without an interview, or discussion about your experience, suitability, and references. Research the recruiter and the business or individual offering the position. Contact the recruitment agency via phone numbers sourced from an independent internet search.
  • If an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is.

Be careful about what information you share on social media

  • Never send money to a person you have met on a WhatsApp or Social Media group.
  • Never send personal pictures of yourself to someone you have only met online.

Warning signs it might be a scam

Stop and think. There's a good chance it's a scam if the email:

  • Contains a link or attachment that asks you to log on to an online service with your username and password or to provide other personal information
  • Requests a payment but the bank account and Business details are new or have changed since the last payment you made
  • Claims to be from a well-known organization or business entity or government agency but is sent from a free webmail address (for example,,

Steps you can take to avoid email scams

These simple steps can help prevent loss of money or your personal information to scams:

Check that the email is real 

  • Check on the SAPAC open source live scams list if the email is listed there yet.
  • Contact the organization or person using details you have found yourself (on their website or in the phone book) to check if the email was real
  • Access the organizations' secure, authenticated portal or app directly (never via a link)

Learn how to protect your email account

  • Use unique passwords for different accounts and consider using a password manager so you don’t need to remember every single password you use.
  • Use multi-factor authentication when you can. This provides an extra layer of protection and means a scammer has to correctly guess your email password and a pin number sent to your phone to gain access to your email account.

SAPAC list live scams in real time and has procedural steps on how to report and list scams.

Be scam aware

Watch out for scams and immediately block contact with anyone who tries to threaten or intimidate you. Open up a CAS number with the SAPS at once and complete an affidavit to the effect. Attach proof of the email.  

Never give personal details or payment to anyone offering compensation or help you recover from a previous scam or data breach or winnings, prizes or an inheritance.

Think you've been scammed?

1. Act fast to stop any further losses

Contact your bank or card provider immediately to report the scam. Ask them to stop any transactions.

Change passwords on all your devices and online accounts like email, banking, government sites and shopping sites. 

2. Report the Scam

Once you have had the opportunity to have secured your details, you should open up a SAPS Case number, you can help us to try and stop the scammers or to warn other by reporting the scam to us. Depending on the nature of the scam site with a case number it can be listed. 

3. Get help to recover

With your case number visit your nearest Department of Home Affairs and provide them with the information of your case including your signed affidavit. They should be able to capture the fact that your personal details may have been stolen and may be used for criminal activities. Visit their Website and make an appointment

Common social media scams types

South African Service delivery and product scams

Scammers prey on consumers and businesses that are selling or buying products and or services. Not every transaction is legitimate 


South African Investment scams

If your looking to make money through investing, watch out - scammers have created all sorts of fake opportunities to get you excited and take away your cash. 



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