Where there’s a crisis, you’ll inevitably find awful human beings who will try to take advantage of it for personal gain.
We’re all a little on edge, worried about the future and battling extreme levels of cabin fever right now, which can be distracting and exhausting.
Scammers have been taking advantage of this less than ideal emotional state since the start of the national lockdown to trick people into parting with their cash.
City Press looked into some of the scams doing the rounds at the moment to ensure that you don’t get duped.
With an economy that feels as if it’s balanced on the edge of a cliff, and industries that are struggling to make ends meet, a number of South Africans could be looking at job losses or pay cuts. This means that myriad people are vulnerable to scammers who pretend to provide financial relief.
Watch out for text messages, emails, and calls from people claiming to offer this service.
Most financial service providers require a detailed breakdown of your circumstances. Anyone claiming to provide instant financial relief is likely a scammer.
Donate to COVID-19 Relief Funds
Decent people are on the lookout at the moment for ways to help their less fortunate fellow South Africans. Unfortunately, fraudsters are also on the lookout for decent people.
If you receive a text message, email or phone call asking you to donate to a “worthy cause”, do your homework before making a payment.
You can also play it safe by donating to a registered non-profit organisation that complies with section 18A of the Income Tax Act.
Check Your Bank Statement
Scammers have been sending out emails posing as one of the five biggest banks in the country. The email, which looks similar to the usual communication that you receive from your bank, but with some key differences (a missing logo, slight colour change), asks you to click on the attached PDF to scrutinise your bank statement.
Do not click on that PDF. This is a phishing scam that will grant the scammer access to your personal information. If you’re unsure, phone your bank.
What To Do If You Think You’ve Been Scammed
Lastly, the best way to stay safe is to trust your gut and verify everything.
A little research is a small price to pay for safety.
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