The Top 10 Scam Types in South Africa

Today I want to inform you about the Top 10 Scam Types in South Africa. Unfortunately scammers don’t rest in this day and age and it’s important that Junk Mail users and the South African public be aware of this.

According to a spokesperson from the Hawks, cyber crime is costing South Africa millions every year, even though the scammers have to work hard to get a “hit”.  Most people will question dodgy communication from scammers, but unfortunately someone will always take the bait – one of the reasons why you will always get scammers looking to make a quick buck.

When it comes to scams remember the following 4 things:

  • If something sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
  • Never respond to an e-mail, SMS or phone call requiring you to submit personal information (even if it’s in the form of a threat to your account being suspended due to some third-party interference).
  • Never participate in any “sale of goods”, “survey”, “competition”, “lottery” or “inheritance” scheme requiring any personal information over the phone or the internet.
  • If you’re selling something, confirm payment with your bank before releasing the goods, and if you don’t remember entering a competition or buying a lottery ticket, you haven’t won anything.

Plain and simple, isn’t it? If you live by these 4 rules you should be okay. Check out the list op the top 10 scam types in South Africa below, I’m pretty sure that you’ll find this information useful:

  1. The 419 heartbreaker scam: This latest version of the 419 scam targets online dating sites. A girl or a guy romances someone over the internet for a few weeks and then comes up with a story that he / she been in a submarine accident and had lost all their money. Inevitably he / she asks their new found other half to send a cash advance to them. The 419 heartbreakers correspondence looks authentic and is oozing with charm, but in reality its being generated by criminal syndicates (usually made up of people of different nationalities).
  2. Phishing: Many of you are probably familiar with phishing. Fake E-mails are sent out by scammers. They claim that they’re from a bank (ABSA, Standard Bank or other South African banks) and that you have to do various things online to confirm your details, etc. All this is done in order to gain access to your bank accounts.
  3. Smishing: This is basically the SMS version of Phishing. South Africa has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the world and it is a wide open field. Many people have received an SMS message requesting that verify their account or in some cases an alarmist message that you make a call rather than visiting a false link. The person on the other end of the line is a fraudster who is after personal information (include your PIN code).  Remember that no bank will ever ask you for your PIN code over the phone.
  4. False payment confirmations: Junk Mail users knows this scam as the SMS Payment confirmation scam. Basically a hoax payment confirmation SMS is sent out by the scammer to confirm payment and it appears to be from your bank. To best way to avoid being caught is to verify that money has been deposited into your account – always. Never release the goods that you’re selling if you aren’t 100% sure that you’ve received payment.
  5. Unethical app downloads charges: Scammers and unethical developers are now making use of premium-rated SMSes in an attempt to defraud people via the mobile applications they download onto their mobile phones. Google removed 22 applications from the Android cellphone market (now known as Google Play) because they conned people into agreeing to premium SMS charges. The first line of defence against any kind of SMS fraud is to thoroughly check your phone bill for any unusual amounts being deducted. Also Only download the more popular apps to avoid this scam.
  6. SIM Swops: One of the ways that a phishing scam can go is a SIM swop scam. The scammer already has your cellphone number and can get enough additional information to request a SIM swop from your network operator. That way they have access to both your bank account details and the SIM card needed to complete transactions. To prevent this SA mobile operators have increased security surrounding SIM swops and this kind of fraud is declining.
  7. Credit Card Skimming: This is a global problem. Credit Card Skimming usually takes place when a fraudster captures card data on devices similar to those used for legitimate point-of-sale or ATM transactions. These devices fit nicely over the card slot on an ATM and some of them even include a camera to record the PIN code. The main point of compromise in this kind of scam is when you hand your card to someone to do a transaction. Never let your card out of your sight and when entering your PIN, cover the PIN pad.
  8. Unscrupulous subscription services: Cellphone users should take note that unscrupulous wireless application service providers (WASPs) can bill any South African cell number and can even detect and record cell phone numbers if you’re browse their websites using your cellphone. On a mobile device all that is needed to bill you is your cellphone number. Make sure that you check your phone bills looking for charges you did not authorize or ongoing charges for subscription services that you did not realise were not once-offs
  9. Counterfit merchandise: Beware of fakes when you’re buying something expensive. It’s big business and a lot of it’s happening online. Recently police arrested four men who tried to con someone into buying fake gems (which had a value of R250,000). The person who was the mark for this scam set up a sting operation and the men were arrested. The gems turned out nothing more than four pieces of glass covered in the melted silicone tube from a TV set.
  10. Microsoft Scam: Scammers call you on your cellphone or home phone claiming to be working for Microsoft. They tell you that they have found out you have a problem with your home computer. They’ll ask you all sorts of questions and prompt you to do all sorts of things with your computer to sort out the problem. The aim of all of this is to get into your computer remotely so they can access all your private info. You could also be told that you’ve won the Microsoft Lottery and that Microsoft requires credit card information to validate your copy of Windows. Another one is unsolicited e-mails from Microsoft requesting a security update. All scams. Don’t get caught by them.

There you have it, information on the top 10 scam types in South Africa. I trust that you have found this information useful. If you encounter a scam or scammer when using the Junk Mail website, please report them to us. You can contact our Customer Care Department via or telephonically on 012-3423840 x2295 (during office hours). Check out our Safety & Security page for more scam warnings and useful tips.

The original article was posted in The Star on the 4th of October (today).

Share on Whatsapp 
The following two tabs change content below.

Henno Kruger

Social Media Contributor and Blogger at Junk Mail Publishing.

You may also like...

253 Responses

  1. Thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  2. maxwell says:

    evening Wesley. . .I received a notification from this email address ” personal.lending@standardbank” but which was delivered by post & what I did was to try and respond to them & to my notice. . .discovered a few errors like my postal code they have a wrong one but then about 90 percent of the details are correct, so on the responding part of it , turns out their email don’t exist . . .could they have tried to scam or basically its a scam. . .

  3. Nothando says:

    Hi guys im in such financial strain as i was scammed 200K by a so called investment company name Final income. they have not paid me even half of what i invested and have requested that i pay 500 rand for each 10k i would like to withdraw from by investments. Only joined them because of a friend of mine that was got paid on the 1st months of 2015 and now i doubt if i will ever get my money back. I have the FNB bank account that i deposited my so called investment to them i dont know if the bank can do anything to recover my money back from them…im so frustrated

  4. Julius says:

    Good day Henno. I have a question on the company called Tissa (My@Home Career). Is this company for real and did you have any complaints on their add. Is this company Legit and can one really make money from their offerings?

    • Hi Julius, these “work-from-home” companies are normally scams, so our advice would be to be careful. You can do some research online to see what other people are saying about this particular company… 🙂

  5. Elzabie says:

    I was scammed this morning by a guy who calls himself Anthony who is selling a 2014 Venter Trailer with a canopy tent, in the George region.
    Long story short, he promised to email me the change of ownership papers and to keep the trailer for me if I pay him a deposit, which I did (yes I am ashamed that I fell for it) however this is to warn everybody not to deal with Anthony – he used a mobile number 0723351950. FNB blocked this number and he will not be able to use it for further transactions.

  6. garreth says:

    This scammers targets us vulnarable people,I’ve learned something from this posts.thank you

  7. Hi, my name is Gugulethu. there are people who are selling cars which are not theirs. One of the guys calls himself Thomas Ngobeni tel no 062 610 0646. These guys they say the cars are in Polokwane, Tzanin, or North West. When you say you want to come and see the car or fetch it yourself, they don’t allow you, they say you must deposit petrol money at Spar or Pick n pay so that they bring the car to you. All these cars are registered GP, but they claim they have been having the car fore so many years. Please investigate this.

  8. garreth says:

    My name is Garreth, someone by the name of Bernard is conning people promising them job in mining industry ( Kuruman) & you’ve to deposit 1,5k in his Capitec acc : B C Modise 1359015491 after few days he’ll contact you again demanding more telling u that he’s busy with a medical report that you’ve passed the tests & he’ll promise you top position .He’s very convincing were by you’ll fall for everything is saying.

  9. scammed says:

    This guy advertises that he can get you financing even if your blacklisted. He then demands a upfront fee to be paid into his personal account. When you refuse he starts swearing you and harasses you as you have given him your personal contact details. When i phoned No finance cars boksburg this guy does not even work for them they used to use him as a spotter. they would then pay him commission on every successful sale they made. They no longer use him due to the fact that he bullies you for money before hand. He has been harrasing me over email and whatsapp for 4 days now.

    chris vd berg
    Claims he works for nofinance cars boksburg but doesnt

  10. Vera says:

    Hi People, i am trying to find out if the following company is also a scam, City Finances in Cape town , I have applied online for a line and have not yet received any feedback… I am worried as my id number was also required in the form. I have not paid any upfront money or anything like that. I have tried their contact number but kept on getting number not available.

  11. My name is Gugu.I was also scammed by final income last year.I paid 5000 n i also paid 1500 for withdrawal fee n I never got a cent back.They use FNB acc no 62537467103 branch code 250655 n swift code FIRNZAJJ n ref no:331011 pls help me

    • Hi Gugulethu,

      We are very sorry to hear you’ve been scammed out of your money!

      The first thing you need to do is open a case with your local South African Police Service station. Please then forward us the case number and all details you have of the advertiser so that we can collaborate with the SAPS in this matter.

      You can send any details to

      Thank you in advance!

  12. Michael says:

    Hi Junkmail. Can you please tell me about this two companies wether they are legit or scammers.

    – Tissa Solutions / Survey 365

    – Nimrose Projects

  13. Riccardo says:


    I would like to find out if online wealth is legit and it works as claimed on their site.

    • Hi Riccardo,

      We are not at liberty to say if they are legit or not. Try Googling all their information to be able to make an informed decision.

      Please be very careful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 5 =

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

How was this article?

If you enjoyed this article feel free to share it with your network.