There’s been an increase in financial scams during lockdown – this is what you should do to stay safe

Woman shockingly staring at phone after realising she was scammed online.
Woman shockingly staring at phone after realising she was scammed online.
Tommaso79/Getty Images

Unemployment has become a reality for many during the Covid-19 pandemic and as people struggle to make ends meet, scammers are also hard at work.

According to the New York Times , the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic has created more opportunities for robocallers, hackers and other thieves who’ve made ordinary people their targets.

Read More: Employees on UIF inconsistencies and financial woes during the lockdown

Marius Reitz, general manager for Africa at cryptocurrency exchange Luno, tells DRUM scammers will offer big profits in exchange for your funds. “They'll even give fake testimonials to make their proposition seem legitimate. We strongly advise against sending anyone money to invest for you. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

He lists the most common red flags and warns that if any of these sound familiar, you’re probably being scammed:

  1. Someone contacts you on social media and offers you big returns in a short time by trading forex, binary options or currencies.
  • Your trader/broker asks you to pay for a “cost of transfer”, taxes or any other fee in order to access your “profits”.
  • The scammer tells you he’s encouraged to recruit more people into an investment programme as he’ll earn an income from your investment.
  • You met someone online romantically and they ask you to send them money.
  • Someone famous is giving away cryptocurrencies if you just send them a small amount first.
  • Read More: Scams to be aware of

    According to Reitz, these are the steps you should follow to stay safe:

    • Be extra careful (even paranoid) and verify the person or organisation you’re dealing with by doing extensive online research and asking them specific questions about their business.
  • Scammers are very persuasive and take advantage of people who are still learning about cryptocurrencies or other forms of investment. Don’t be afraid to terminate a conversation and walk away.
  • Do not take loans or borrow money to buy and send cryptocurrency to someone.
  • Avoid brokers, account managers, traders, sponsors, agents and other people who offer to trade cryptocurrency on your behalf.
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