Wonga SA joins the war against cyber crime

cyberSouth African payday loan website Wonga is stepping up the action against online fraudsters. In addition to all of the information and warnings they have published on their website and other platforms, they have now launched their Fraud Hotline, and anyone who has received any suspicious correspondence is invited to either report it on za.fraud@wonga.com or call the hotline on 0861-966-424.

Fraudsters ask consumers for their personal details
Consumers of short term payday loans have been targeted by online fraudsters pretending to be Wonga SA. The phishing emails look like the genuine article, complete with Wonga logo, their registration number and their NCR number. They invite unsuspecting victims to contact the fraudsters and pass over their personal details including bank account details in the belief that they are applying for loans.

Loans can only be applied for via the Wonga SA website
Part of the problem is that the emails and advertisements look very authentic at first glance, so Wonga SA is sending out a loud and clear message that genuine Wonga SA short term loans can only ever applied for via the Wonga SA website. Wonga also want to make it known that they never send out unsolicited emails or texts.

South Africa – world’s 2nd highest incidence rate of Phishing scams
Of all of the countries around the world, South Africa is receiving the 2nd highest number of these phishing scams. The South African Reserve Bank confirms it is seeing an advanced increase in the incidence rate of what it calls “419” or “Nigerian letter scams,” and has a page on its website entitled “Suspicious transactions / Advance Fee” containing details about this type of fraud. The latest trend is sending SMS scam messages through the mobile phone network.

If it sounds too good to be true – it almost certainly is
One of the problems is that scammers and fraudsters prey on the vulnerable. For example with the Wonga scam they offer an interest rate of 3.5%. You can’t even get a long-term mortgage loan in most countries for such a low rate, let alone a short term payday loan. But innocent people who are desperate for immediate cash are often tempted.

The South African Police Service is actively tracking these cyber criminals down. According to Captain Malcolm Pojie of the Hawks (South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime investigation – DPCI) in George, said one victim of a phishing email had paid the scammers R24,000 in various fees but had never received his loan.

The bottom line generally speaking is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unfortunately the message is yet to get through to everybody and in the meantime Wonga SA is receiving approximately 300 calls per week on its new Fraud Hotline.

Wonga SA wage war of fraudsters
Wonga isn’t the only reputable finance company to be targeted by scammers. Last year customers of South Africa Standard Bank were hit.

But Wonga SA are determined to protect their customers from these fraudsters and the message is beginning to get through thanks to their aggressive publicity campaign which is driving the publication of articles such as the “Wonga Launches Fraud Hotline To Combat Phishing Scam” on the youngupsatarts.com website; a website specifically designed to inform young generation South Africans of current issues.