Computer fraud is a big issue today, but it extends beyond simple data fraud and now includes financial fraud too. It’s something that Wonga SA became aware of a year or so ago when some unscrupulous “shamsters” tried to heist the Wonga name and use it for their own fraudulent purposes.
Since then Wonga have been actively warning people and alerting them to watch out for scam emails and advertisements, whether it’s someone pretending to be Wonga or another company, in order to try and steal money from unsuspecting members of the public.
Fraudsters used the Wonga logo, registration and NCR numbers
According to the fin24.com website, Wonga first became aware of mischievous fraudsters pretending to be them back in January last year. Not only had they purloined the Wonga logo, but they stole and used both Wonga’s registration and NCR numbers too thereby making the phishing emails look alarmingly genuine.
The phishing emails advised unsuspecting recipients that they had qualified for a Wonga short term loan at an interest rate of 3.5%; a rate which incidentally is lower than the long term mortgage rates in many other countries like Spain and the UK. Once people had been “hooked” they were then asked to pay a number of various fees for things like registration fees, attorney fees, and local agent transfer fees. They didn’t of course receive any loans.
South Africa – the 2nd highest country targeted by online scammers
Wonga were not the only reputable company to be attacked or implicated in this way. The fact of the matter is that according to the enca.com website, in 2013 South Africa was the second highest nation in the world for the number of phishing scams targeted at it. The former CEO of Wonga SA issued a statement saying, “South Africa has become a significant target for cyber criminals as we have the largest internet connectivity on the continent.”
It’s not just phishing scams that are taking their toll; there are many other types of scams that are just as dangerous. One of the problems is that many of the victims of these scams are not the type of people who normally make online transactions. Unfortunately this means that they don’t see the warnings that Wonga and others are issuing.
Inform the South African Police Service
In a recent widespread publicity campaign aimed at informing the South African general public, Wonga SA are advising people who have been taken in by these scams to immediately inform the South African Police Service who will then open up a criminal case file.
Protect your personal details
Apparently these fraudsters get the names of people, complete with their personal contact details, from lists they can buy online. Wonga have therefore also advised people to be careful about putting any personal information out into cyberspace.
For the avoidance of doubt – call the Wonga Fraud Hotline
For the avoidance of doubt, Wonga SA reminds potential clients that loans can only be applied for via the Wonga.co.za website. Any other approach must therefore be a scam. As a responsible lender, Wonga have recently opened-up a Fraud Hotline and anyone who has received suspicious correspondence is invited to call the hotline on 0861-966-424.