Hoax emails worry South African internet users

January 20, 2009 • Security

internet_cafe.jpgINTERNET users in South Africa expressed concern over increasing cases of hoax emails targeted at low income earners, informing them of winning inexistent online prizes or inviting them to take up job offers.

Most of those emails do not bear names of traceable companies or telephone contact details, but require the “winners” or job seekers to deposit cash into the accounts of the firm allegedly running the purported promotion for the release of prizes or in the case of “vacancies,” for the finalization of the offer.

Several email account holders told ITNewsAfrica that they had received such emails, while some of them had actually fallen victim to the scam. The hardest hit towns include Hillbrow, Yeoville, Braamfontein and the areas surrounding the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD).

“Cyber crimes involving hoax emails are on the increase in South Africa, especially in Hillbrow. I do not have the statistics off hand, but I have been a victim of online crime. I saw an online advert requesting interested people to take up jobs reserved for Africans in Canada. Upon responding, one is told to deposit R1 500 electronically,” said Nixon Majola of Hillbrow.

Nonzolo Mbazima of Yeoville said that she lost about R500 after an advert falsely advertised that Sydney, Australia, seeks South African nurses. She said the advertiser requested her to pay the R500 into their account so that she could be registered and an air ticket could be issued.

“After depositing the R500, the email address ceased to operate. My dream of working in Sydney was shattered,” said Mbazima.

Tinashe Mandebvu of Hillbrow, a Zimbabwean citizen, said he received several hoax emails. He mentioned two, one from London stipulating that he won the jackpot in an online gambling competition and the second email from Canada stating he needs to pay R2 000.

Mandebvu said the email from Toronto, Canada, requested him to deposit R2 000 if he was interested in taking up a job offer in the country. He said the email claimed that the money would meet his travel expenses.

“Upon phoning the Canadian embassy in Pretoria to verify the authenticity of the offer, I was advised of the correct procedures to take if I intended to work in Canada,” he said.

No immediate comment could be obtained from the police on how the force was hoping to deal with the situation. —ITNewsAfrica.

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