23 July 2020
Their fraudulent attempts are most often linked to fantastical ‘get rich quick’ schemes that lure participants with promises of low interest loans or high return investments. The moral of the story? Megan Govender, Head of Forensics Services at Sanlam, says that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Recently, a number of smart scams have been making waves. The Planet49 ‘COVID-19 relief promotion’ scheme supposedly supported local grocery chains, but actually harvested participants’ personal information (PI) to sell to third parties. Then there’s the WhatsApp gifting scam (previously named ‘stokvel’), which promised members great returns on initial investments of R200. And the recent Bitcoin scam leaked the PI of about 250 000 individuals from 20 countries.
Govender says once your personal information is ‘out there’, it takes on a journey of its own. “As soon as criminals have your ID number, they’re in a position to ‘purchase’ your entire profile from the dark web, including your full name, credit record, where you live, the amount outstanding on your bond, your phone number and more.
“They can use that information in myriad ways from attempting to change your internet banking password or accessing credit in your name, to impersonating you to your insurer or investment company to retrieve your funds and benefits.”
Govender says Sanlam is concerned about recent incidents where fraudsters have used the Sanlam brand to mislead consumers to contribute money to an ‘investment’ or pay to apply for a ‘personal loan’. He warns that the bank accounts used for the payments are in no way affiliated with Sanlam, and once the scammers get their money, they cut all contact with the victims.
Top tips to avoid a scam:
If you’re a Sanlam client, Govender asks you to note that:
Govender concludes, “We are aware that clients in the broader financial services industry are being targeted by scammers and, from a Sanlam perspective, we are extremely concerned about the increase in scams involving our brand. We urge South Africans to be hyperaware and to educate themselves on the latest, sophisticated criminal techniques. Our forensics services unit is working closely with the South African Police Services in their investigations of these scams.
“Don’t hesitate to alert us about any offer which concerns you by calling our Client Care Centre on +27 860 726 526 or speak to a trusted financial planner.”
Sanlam is committed to the highest standards of business integrity, ethical values and governance.
That is why we encourage our staff, clients and stakeholders to report unethical or corrupt behaviour.