Hawks warn of 'Wonga' loan scam

By Drum Digital
08 April 2014

An e-mail scam is using the name of short-term loan company Wonga Finance SA to trick people out of their money.

An e-mail scam is using the name of short-term loan company Wonga Finance SA to trick people out of their money, Western Cape police said on Tuesday. Captain Malcolm Pojie said the Hawks in George were investigating the loan scam.

"An e-mail is sent out to e-mail users informing them that they could qualify for a loan at Wonga Finance SA (Pty), which is a registered credit provider."

The scam offered an interest rate of 3.5 percent, so that a personal loan of R60,000 over a five-year term would have monthly repayments of only of R1091,51.

Once the recipient "applied" for this loan, they would receive e-mails demanding an administration fee, another payment for an attorney fee and a local agent transfer fee.

"One of the complainants had made a total [payment] of R24,000 without receiving the 'approved loan'," Pojie said.

Three people had come forward to report the scam; one in Oudtshoorn and two in Danabaai.

Chief executive of Wonga.com SA Kevin Hurwitz said in a statement the company was aware of the scam, which used his company's logo, registration number, and National Credit Regulator number.

He said the only way to apply for a real Wonga loan was via the company's website and it never requested any payment upfront for a loan.

South Africa was the second-most targeted country for phishing scams according to a study last year.

Phishing scams involve e-mails purporting to be from reputable companies requesting personal information or money from recipients.

Hurwitz warned the public to check the legitimacy of any such e-mail with the company it was attributed to.

"If the offer sounds too good to be true it probably is.

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