South African Threats and Extorsion Scams

Posted by SAPAC Reporter on

South African Threats and Extorsion Scams

Prepared by : Independent 
Article Classification: Types of Scams
Image courtesy: SAPAC Professionals and Contractors


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South African Threats and Extorsion Scams

Scammers threaten you so you will pay them money.

Speak up and report before handing over money to someone who threatens you.

Scammers pretend to be from an organization and claim you need to pay money. They may threaten you with arrest, deportation, or even physical harm, if you don’t agree to pay them immediately.

They can also blackmail you by threatening to share naked pictures or videos you have sent them unless you send them money.

Don’t be pressured by a threat. Stop and check whether it’s true.

Warning signs it might be a scam

  • You receive a call, message or email unexpectedly from someone claiming to be from a government department, debt collection agency or trusted company.
  • They will claim that you owe money and threaten you with legal action or arrest.
  • The caller will tell you that to fix the matter you will need to pay a fee or fine.
  • The caller may ask for your personal information, such as your passport details, date of birth or bank information.
  • The caller may claim the police will come to your door and arrest you if you do not pay the fee or fine straight away.
  • You are asked to transfer money to an account to ‘keep it safe’ or for ‘further investigation’.

Steps you can take to protect yourself

  • Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller asking for money. Hang up and don’t respond.
  • Don’t pay anyone by unusual methods such as by gift or store cards, iTunes vouchers, wire transfers or crypto currency.
  • Don’t use any contact details provided by the caller. Verify their identity by calling the relevant organization directly. Find them through an independent source such as a phone book, past bill or online search.
  • Do not respond to texts or emails. If you do, the scammers will escalate their intimidation and attempts to get your money.

More safeguards

  • Never send money or give your credit card details, online account details or identity information like your driver license or passport to anyone you don’t know or trust. Never share them by phone or over email.
  • If you are concerned for your safety, contact the police at once and open up a CAS number/
  • If the scam is sent by email, don’t open any attachments, click on links, or download files. They can infect your computer with viruses or malware.

Common threat and extortion scams

  • Sextortion
  • Xenophobia extortion 

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

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