Types of money scams in South Africa and how to protect yourself

According to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), data has shown that fraud has significantly increased over the past year for South Africans. 

Mama Money aims to provide a safe, secure and reliable money transfer service and to help inform you about online scams in South Africa. Here are tips on how to spot a scam so you can avoid being the scammer's next victim.


What is a money scam?

Money scams are happening in many ways, becoming harder to detect. Since everything has moved online, so too have scammers moved to online means to gain access to your personal information, presented in ways that don't come across as a scam initially. 


The different types of online money scams

There has been an increased need for South Africans to send their money abroad, and often the thought of leaving family and friends waiting for the money transfer seems debilitating. This is where a scammer will play on your emotions to ensure you follow through on their requirements.


1. Money mule scams

This is a popular scam that has been happening more often where someone will ask someone else to use their account to send money on their behalf, often pleading to send it to a relative in desperate need of their funds. 

This is a typical case of money laundering, where the money is obtained illegally but sent through a legal source, and that source is you. 

You can avoid this by using our app to transfer funds. We are an international, registered money transfer company and will send your transfer safely and quickly. 

Spot a scam: Asked to open an online account for someone else

This seems obvious not to do when it is for someone you don't know, but you are less hesitant to do so when it is for someone you do know. Do not open an account for anyone but yourself, as this is a popular way for scammers to use you as a money mule. 


2. Phishing 

Another way that scammers gain access to personal information and data is when they pretend to be an official from a credit agency or bank, asking you questions regarding your finances.  

By answering their questions, these scammers can gain access to your bank account and not need you to transfer the money manually. 

Spot a scam: Someone who reaches out to you that you don't know

This can be via email, text, call, or social media. Scammers do their research and will approach you in a way that is personalised and include names of people you know, places you go to, and even work-related information. Do not respond. 


3. Stranded

This is when a scammer will pretend to be a family or friend stranded or in an emergency and that they are desperate for money. They will ask you to send them money through wiring money, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. These methods of money transfer are fast but mostly untraceable and irreversible. 

If you find yourself in this situation and are unsure if it is a scam or emergency, use a trusted, verified money transfer service such as Mama Money that will allow you to send money abroad in just minutes.

Spot a scam: A sense of urgency

Scammers will put pressure on you to follow their demands. They will play on your emotions and make you fear them. This is in the hope that you will act quickly with little thought. Do not respond. 


Is there anything you can do if you have been scammed?

If you have been a scam victim, you need to report it to your local police station as soon as possible. Try to take immediate action, such as changing your passwords and securing any other accounts by contacting your bank.


Need help? Mama is here.

Should you have any questions that are not covered above please contact Mama via WhatsApp on +27 66 104 1097.
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