Avoid social media scams

Jason Lane-Sellers, director of fraud and identity for Europe, Middle East and Africa at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, told Daily Maverick that fraudsters are increasingly using social media by creating deepfake videos of celebrities or public figures endorsing fake investment opportunities or cryptocurrencies. A classic example in South Africa is the recent social media scam using images of Johann Rupert and Elon Musk apparently promoting a particular type of investment.

But that is just one example of the hundreds of fake investment opportunities being promoted via social media. If you are tempted by an investment opportunity being promoted on Telegram, a WhatsApp group, or any other channel, take time to verify the opportunity and the company offering it.

⚠️ The Association for Investment and Savings South Africa (Asisa) highlighted these red flags you should watch out for:

⌚ Scammers will put you under pressure by making it seem that the investment opportunity is available for a limited time only, to prevent you from doing the proper checks.

🔔 Reputable financial services providers do not do business via Telegram. Telegram is popular with cybercriminals because of its anonymity features. If you are approached via Telegram with an investment opportunity or are encouraged to switch to Telegram to finalise a transaction, alarm bells should be ringing.

₿ Asisa member companies will not ask you to open a cryptocurrency account to transfer money into an investment account. When this happens, you are about to be scammed.

🔗 No regulated life company, investment company or financial advice company will send you links requesting you to log in or share personal details via WhatsApp, Telegram, text message, email or social media platforms.

💸Remember, you cannot invest in a regulated financial product without going through the verification process required by the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica). Any process that requires you to deposit money without following this process is a scam.

❌ Don’t fall for a scam twice by paying an advance fee when you want to realise some of the promised returns. Legitimate investment products do not require you to make a second investment in order to gain access to your investments.

⁉️ If you are charged an annual premium for life cover without specifically requesting this, you are likely to be scammed. South African life insurers offer monthly premiums as well as annual or one-off premiums.

💰 Asisa members will never charge applicants an application fee for an advertised employment opportunity.

🚫 If you apply for a short-term loan and the lender instructs you to pay application or legal fees to process your application, you are being scammed. Reputable companies will not ask for fees in advance for loan applications.

Helping you know more, so you can manage your money better.

Neesa Moodley

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