LifeStyle & Health

Youth warned to be vigilant against phone scams

The Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs (Goca) has urged the youth to be vigilant against mobile phone scamming in the consumer market.

Goca said fraudsters and scammers are increasingly preying on unsuspecting consumers and swindling them out of their airtime and money.

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Morapedi Machakela, Acting Director: Education, Awareness and Stakeholder Relations, said their awareness campaign has shed light on mobile phone scamming.

“During our awareness campaigns, consumers reported that they received phone calls from people who pretended to be the network service providers and told them that they have won cellphones. Consumers were then expected to recharge airtime and send it to these criminals before receiving the cellphones.

“Unfortunately, the unsuspecting victims then openly purchased the airtime and sent it to the criminals, but never received the cellphones,” Machakela said.

Machakela further urged the youth to be vigilant and never trust anyone who calls them pretending to be from the network company.

“Network service providers do not contact people and ask for airtime, their personal and security details.”

Below are consumer tips from Gocha

  • Getting unwanted emails, SMSs and calls selling you products? You have the right to restrict unwanted direct marketing by informing suppliers of goods and services to stop sending you advertisements. Suppliers are also not allowed to share your information with third parties.
  • Beware of scams. If you’re buying something online, spend a few minutes checking it – start by finding its terms and conditions, the company’s address and also check to see what people have said about the company. It’s worth looking for reviews on different websites – don’t rely on reviews the company has put on its own website. 
  • Scammers may pretend to be legitimate employers/service providers. Some scammers may advertise fake job opportunities so that you share your information with them, and then they use that information for fraudulent activities in the consumer market and some may ask for an advance fee to provide the service. 
  • Do not participate or promote pyramid and related schemes that are offering interest rates of 20% and above the South African Reserve Bank-regulated repo rate.

ALSO READ: President Cyril Ramaphosa’s personal financial information hacked

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