Minister calls on Hawks to investigate fake social media accounts

Johannesburg - Minister of Home Affairs Ayanda Dlodlo on Wednesday said she had approached the Hawks to investigate a suspected criminal syndicate operating on SA social networks, that had created fake social media accounts in her name and put out calls for bogus government deals.

In a statement the department of Home Affairs said that last week a fake social media account bearing the minister’s name was created as a platform to solicit money for a “deal” worth R25m. 

The sham deal was advertised as business venture between Dlodlo and another unnamed minister. 

Dlodlo warned members of the public to be vigilant against such cyber-criminal activity.

“The Minister of Home Affairs is not involved in any deal of the nature described in this fake correspondence, in addition, the Department of Home Affairs will also never ask people to pay money through social media for any of their services and anyone who comes across such requests should report these to the authorities” she said.

Dlodo said that the department had detected other incidents of fake social media accounts attempting to solicit money from members of the public, and have reported the matter to the Hawks for thorough investigation. 

"These impostors create numerous fake accounts not just for misinformation and personal data compromise, which are common mischiefs on social media, but to extort money from unsuspecting patrons on social media, especially high profile personalities," she said. 

“We would also like to warn those who are involved in this illegal activity that the law will come hard on them."

Dlodlo described social networks as critical platforms for information flow and exchange around the globe. But she said they had too become dangerous hunting grounds for cyber criminals. 

She did not name which social networks the alleged criminals had made use of. 

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