Beware scammers, SA Post Office warns

South Africa has a high incidence of financial crime, and scammers are constantly coming up with variations of existing scams, as well as new schemes, making it impossible to list them all.

South Africa has a high incidence of financial crime, and scammers are constantly coming up with variations of existing scams, as well as new schemes, making it impossible to list them all.

Published Mar 15, 2024


There has been an increase in email and text message scams by fraudsters claiming to represent the post office, the joint business rescue practitioners of the SA Post Office warned on Friday.

“The emails and SMS messages appear to originate from the Post Office when in fact they are fraudulent,” joint practitioners Anoosh Rooplal and Juanito Damons said in a statement.

“Some fraudulent SMSes state that, ‘due to an incorrect address on the goods label, our postman is unable to deliver your order. Please update the delivery address within 24 hours otherwise we will return the parcel, link:cutt.Oly/6wrgXUqQ’ (not a real link).”

They said that clicking on the link leads the user to a payment page, where they are asked to deposit money into an account to “release” a package.

In several instances, a form is included requesting a bankcard number and the CCV number on the back of the card.

“The combination of the card number and CCV number are required for online purchases. If you share these details with the scammer, they may be able to use your bank card in fraudulent shopping up to its credit limit,” they warned.

Another reported scam has to do with “Package delivery in South Africa”.

The message states: “Your package has arrived in South Africa. To receive it, please pay the delivery charges within 7 days. Failure to do so may result in the package being returned to the sender. Payment details [3.99 ZAR].”

The SA Post Office says it will:

– Never ask for import duties or clearance fees in advance, or to be paid online. If there are customs fees payable on a parcel from abroad, the client pays the fees when they collect the parcel from the post office counter.

– Never request your bank account number or CVV numbers.

– Never ask customers to update their address details online

It advised those who are expecting mail or a parcel to check the website to track the parcel.

The SA Post Office would send customers an SMS or a posted collection slip when they have a parcel ready for collection at a named post office branch.

“This parcel should be collected as soon as possible to make sure it is not returned to the sender.

“If you have any information about postal crimes, please contact the SA Post Office’s toll-free crime buster hotline on 0800 020 070,” it said.

Scammers are on the rise;

South Africans last week were also warned to beware of fraudsters posing as financial services providers

Specialist loans provider DirectAxis has added its voice to warnings about a company calling itself Direct Access Finance, which is using false information in what is apparently a bid to dupe consumers.

It said in a statement that fraudsters were using a bogus identity, imitating a legitimate brand, to extract money or personal details from customers, DirectAxis said.

DirectAxis has a 29-year track record. It is a business unit of FirstRand Bank Limited and is an authorised financial services and registered credit provider.

South Africa has a high incidence of financial crime, and scammers are constantly coming up with variations of existing scams, as well as new schemes, making it impossible to list them all.

Tips to protect yourself from the most common scams are:

– Be suspicious of emails or messages from friends that seem out of character, or those from well-known companies containing spelling or grammatical errors, or other inconsistencies such as old logos or Gmail addresses rather than a company domain e-mail.

– Similarly, be cautious if the name seems similar, but not quite the same as that of a legitimate company.

– Only shop on or transact on reputable websites, and either bookmark your trusted sites or type the URL into your browser. Never click on a link you’ve been sent – it could take you to a bogus site.

– Don’t believe you’ve suddenly become eligible for a very low-interest-rate loan. Never pay an upfront admin or other fee or provide personal details to release the money. If it seems too good to be true, it is.

– Don’t share your passwords or PIN numbers with anyone on any channel, even if they claim to be from a bank or other financial service provider. No reputable financial institution will ever ask for this information.

– Never let bank or other transactional cards out of your sight. If you do lose a card, report the losst and immediately put a hold on the card. The same applies to your cellphone, particularly if you use it for banking.

– Don’t share personal information on social media sites.

– Never let any unauthorised person have remote access to your computer, cellphone or other devices, even if they claim to be from a well-known company, bank, IT or software provider.

– Don’t download software from pop-up windows.

– Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know and trust.

– Scammers use all the channels they can find, including phone, email and social media. Be careful about answering unsolicited messages.

– Install anti-virus software and update it regularly.

– Be wary of payment requests for goods or services you haven’t or don’t remember ordering, especially if you’re asked to use an unusual payment method.

– Frequently check your credit rating. You can use free online tools such as Pulse. A sudden, negative change in your rating could indicate someone is using your personal information fraudulently.

If you’re suspicious or do get caught out, report the scam. The information you provide may lead to the scammers being prosecuted, or at least the scam being shut down.

Most financial services companies have fraud departments and will act to shut down websites, bank accounts and other mechanisms used as part of the fraud. Reporting scams is the best way to fight back. Even if you have spotted the scam, reporting it may prevent others falling victim.