Scams often use an app/device to change their voices to another gender to trick thousands of victims. They also display fake video calls to deceit and lure the victims into believing that they are real.
THE 419 SCAM
The 419 scam originate in the early 1970’s in Nigeria and is named after a section of the country’s Criminal code because of its prevalence in the region. The Nigerian criminal code, section 419 makes this scam type of fraud illegal. However, this scam is not limited to Nigeria and is also perpetrated by many organizations in many different countries in and around the world and in South-Africa. The origins of this scam are widely debated with some suggesting it started in Nigeria during the 1970s, while other suggest its origins go back hundreds of years to other confidence scams such as the Spanish prisoner scams. The scams hope that the commission offered will be enticing enough to compel the recipient to take part the risk of sending thousands of Dollars/Rand to a stranger. The reason given for the transfer can differ from a government freezing an account to the existence of an account with no beneficial owner. It is important to remember that if anything sounds too good to be true – it usually is.
Scams have been intensifying in a very large amount on all social media platforms like: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Hangout, WhatsApp, Skype and all online dating sites. They are operated by well organized crime syndicates with the sole purpose of identifying and exploiting of vulnerable men, women, children, and widowers, the elderly retirees and business owners. Scams are mentally abusive in fraud, a scam and/or charade with the main goal to steal possessions and our goodwill. A scam consists of 70% mental abuse and manipulation and 30% for financial gain. Every year, South Africans lose millions of rand to the activities of scammers who bombard us with online, mail, door–to–door and telephone scams and social media scams. Scammers target people of all backgrounds, education, age and levels of income.
Our research showed that despite many “phishing spam links” (hacking) attempts on Facebook users, scams also use high-tech devices to gain easy access to Facebook users accounts. If Facebook users have not set their settings on their personal accounts, on “authentication”, then the scams can bypass any Facebook account to get personal information and addresses. Once they have a victims IP address they can gain easy access to other personal information like: ID’s, physical addresses and bank account details via hacking. The information might be used for identity fraud, other forms of crimes like household robberies, car hi-jacking’s, human trafficking , kidnapping and cell phone sim card swaps to perform bank accounting fraud/scam or other types of scam fraud. Personal information is valuable to these organized scams groups and is kept on a database for future use.
- “Romance scams” are the most popular Nigerian scam on social media platforms and it is a special form of Fraud whereby the scammers gain the victim’s trust and confidence by developing a personal relationship for financial gain. These scammers create many fake scam profiles on social media platforms and online dating sites pretending to be God fearing foreigners, working in SA as Engineers, contractors on oil rigs, building contractors, surgeons, dressmakers and or art dealers. They use stolen photographs of attractive models, army officers, public figures and successful business people. Women scammers pretend to be charity workers, models and art dealers etc.
- Scams often try and move the conversation from the social media platforms to instant messaging service and e-mail on the basis of wanting an “exclusive” relationship with the victim. They will disguise their voices to sound like another gender or may even employ the use of a phone application to mask their voices or use fake video calls. They will bombard a victim with calls, WhatsApp messages and emails, keeping the victim occupied to reinforce their belief in the scam and make it easier to pay money in the future. The scams are working in a well-organized scam syndicate in South-Africa, linked to other countries like: US, UK, Philippines, Europe, Indonesia, India, China, and Australia. There have been loose scam groups floating around on social media but they do not form part of the syndicate. Once the victim’s has been caught up in a deceitful scam web, the rest of the group will also target these victims, their children, friend’s families.
Scams use fake business pages with fake websites on online social media platforms, pretending to be” Loan Sharks” offering personal loan / Mortgage loans/Medical Schemes/Lottery schemes/ Visa & Immigration scams/ job scams/ car scams and misleading advertising and many more. These scams use stolen legit corporate business pages, websites & profiles to perform fraudulent activities. Corporate data is much more valuable on the “scam market” than individual data. As a result, scammers target employees and company pages to gain access to sensitive business and financial information. If employees link their personal pages to company profiles or reuse login credentials, scammers may be able gain access to multiple accounts at once.