“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week or so we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Carel who shares some handy tips from Nicola Comninos – Chief Risk Officer at EasyEquities. Says Carel: “With her varied and extensive knowledge, Nicola has shared some tips with our Easy VSTRs and I thought they were useful for anyone who transacts online – and that, these days, is all of us! I hope that you have a safe and happy festive season.”

Silly season is around the corner and as we all look forward to some downtime, fraudsters are looking forward to us letting our guard down so they can be the Grinch who stole Christmas early this year …

Be cautious over the festive season and ensure your account remains secure, keeping your #easy investments in your account and the fraudsters out.

There are many ways fraudsters try to get hold of our information and get their hands on our hard-earned investments. Here are the top three scams targeting South Africans right now according to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), a non-profit organisation who aim to prevent fraud:

  • 1. Money mule (increased by 97% in 2022) – a person approaches you and asks you to use your account for a reason such as to send money their relative in another country. In this case, lending a helping hand is not the answer, you are at risk of helping a criminal.
  • 2. Impersonation (increased by 264% in 2022) – has always been a significant crime is South Africa as fraudsters prey on their victims through phishing, smishing and vishing*.

*Phishing – scammers try to trick you into giving them your personal or financial information by pretending to be a legitimate company or organisation. Smishing – a type of phishing scam where attackers send SMS messages (or text messages) to trick victims into sharing personal information or installing malware on their devices. Vishing – almost identical to smishing, except criminals use Voice over IP to place phone calls to trick victims.

  • 3. Forged documentation – a person unlawfully and intentionally makes a false or counterfeit document to commit fraud, e.g.  false qualifications increased by 158% in 2022.

TEN top tips to avoid being defrauded:

  1. Don’t fall for scams and promises of easy money – when it sounds too good to be true, it is! Investing is #easy with us and a very rewarding journey, but patience is your key to success!
  2. Don’t allow fraudsters to pressurise you into giving them your personal details for some prize you won for a competition you never entered;
  3. Always know who you’re dealing with and why they need your personal information;
  4. Don’t share personal information (such as your ID number) on social media;
  5. Don’t click on links unless you have verified it’s a safe link – taking you to a trusted domain and a legit service provider;
  6. Don’t rush transactions, take it #easy, take your time and make sure you transact safely and securely;
  7. Don’t trust unsolicited emails, they’re often fraudulent;
  8. Trust your gut, if you suspect something is fishy, doesn’t feel right and you’re possibly being scammed, stop all contact with the scammer and report it to us, the police and your bank;
  9. Check your credit reports regularly. If you find accounts that don’t belong to you or other incorrect information, follow the instructions for disputing those items; 
  10. Protect your information by registering with the South African Fraud Prevention Services if your ID or passport has been stolen. This can be done at https://www.safps.org.za/