SA Citizens Should Be Careful Of Fake Government Websites

22 Aug

Online fraudsters in South Africa have been at it again! On the 27th of July 2017, the ZA Central Registry issued a warning regarding fake SA government websites and email addresses.

These fake sites are being set up and used to try and trick the public into divulging personal and sensitive information. The aim of this particular type of scam is to acquire people’s user names, passwords, ID numbers, financial information and more. This information is then used for identity theft and fraudulent purchases.

Those who are applying for government tenders or dealing with government departments are most at risk. This type of scam is called cybersquatting.

Cybersquatting? What Is That?

Cybersquatting is not your regular identity theft scam. This particular online scam runs a little deeper. It involves ‘scamsters’ who register a well-known or trusted brand name as a website URL.

The main objective of the scam is to sell the registered domain name for a profit. The problem that arises from this is that fraudulent activity can and does get run from many of these websites. A website domain name that seems legitimate is more likely to trick unsuspecting online users, which would certainly seem to be the case!

How Has Cybersquatting Affected the SA Government?

In the case of the SA government, it would appear that cybercriminals have made contact with members of the public and directed them back to fraudulent websites that, for all intents and purposes, look just like an official government website.

The contact is typically made via email where a link is clicked, a scam we are all too familiar with: phishing!

Members of the public are urged to take a moment to scrutinise the links that they receive before clicking on them. Making sure that the website URL is in fact an official government domain is essential. Official government website URLs in South Africa will end with “.gov.za”. If the website URL ends in “.co.za” or “.com” or anything else, it is most certainly not an official government website.

What To Do If A Website Appears To Be Fraudulent

Members of the public can do their part to protect fellow South Africans from the damaging effect of fraudulent websites. First and foremost, the website URL should be reported to the ISP (internet service provider). You can also ask the ISPA (Internet Service Providers’ Association) for assistance.

It is up to each and every online user to protect their personal data and to ensure that others don’t fall victim to potential threats and scams! That includes ensuring that you don’t supply personal data to unknown sources and that you protect all of your data on your devices too.

Need more tips and advice on how to avoid being a victim of cybercrime? Let us know – we would love to assist!

Comments are closed.