SA government cautions general public of 419 scams

The Minister of Finance along with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) have released an alert to South Africans pertaining to fraudulent letters and emails which profess to be originating from the Minister and various other senior public officials.

The letters appear to be real and have fake logos of the FIC and other state institutions in the the letterheads.

The FIC has for a long time been aware of these 419 scams and has for a long time issued a warning on its website ( cautioning the public about these fraudulent schemes that allege to have the authority of the FIC, the Minister of Finance along with other public officials.

The FIC would like to remind the public that they do request any payments for its services, nor do they pay out funds to anyone.

The sources of these scam letters and exactly how individuals are targeted was constantly changing and evolving.

The treasury is asking all members of the public who receive these letters and scams claiming to be from the FIC (or any other government department) that makes reference to payments to be made or to be received, not respond to them. Rather report these scams to the nearest police station.

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) reports directly to the Ministry of Finance and is mandated to guarantee the stability and integrity of the country’s financial system. In addition they manage South Africa’s framework to fight money laundering as well as the financing of terrorism; and it also supplies the financial intelligence that is increasingly coming to the fore in the investigation of priority crimes.

Guidelines to identify a scam:

* The e-mail requestor asks for bank account information, credit card numbers, driver’s licence number, passport number, information about members of your family, and other personal information.
* The e-mail advises that you have won a prize – even though you are not aware of having entered any competition run by the prize promoters.
* The e-mail may be personally addressed to you but it has been posted using bulk mail sending facilities to many others locally and internationally.
* Check the wording of the letter; you may notice spelling errors and exaggerations, which should alert you to the offer being too good to be true.
* Logos of the organisations mentioned in the letter (such as the prize-givers) may not seem correct or professionally drafted.
* The names of persons used as senders of the e-mails are common.




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