Fraudsters are Everywhere: Cybercrime up 667% since Lockdown  

It didn’t take the online fraudsters long to realise that the coronavirus lockdown has opened up a whole new avenue of opportunity for them.  

Malware, phishing and ransomware attacks are surging, and schemes offering some form of financial relief are particularly evident. All forms of online communication including emails, SMSes and Social Media posts should be treated with caution. 

We share tips on how to protect yourself and your business in these dangerous times, with news on some of the more common scams going around and a link to the latest examples identified by SARS. 

There has been a surge in internet scams over the past three months – from malware, phishing and ransomware to obtaining your log-in details. 

Take extra precautions such as dual authorisations for payment, carefully validate new beneficiaries and get your IT staff or consultants to regularly check that no malware is loaded onto your IT platforms. 

Recently, SMSes were being sent out from the “Public Investment Corporation (PIC)”, promising money from a “Business Personal Relief Fund”. If you replied, you got an approval letter and money was promised once you paid a “handling fee”. If you Google the PIC, there is no mention of Covid-19 relief money.  

SARS have reported scams whereby taxpayers get messages from “SARS” about their income tax return or about an audit on the taxpayer or asking for missing documents and you are asked to disclose confidential information in your reply to “SARS”. See some examples of the latest scams on the SARS “Scams and Phishing Attacks” page. 

There are other scams involving Transnet. 

Treat emails, SMSes, and Social Media with caution, particularly if you get offered some form of relief. 

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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