Beware of corona scammers
15 September 2020 | Crime
There has been a spike in coronavirus-related scams in Namibia as fraudsters try to take advantage of people.
Global information and insights company TransUnion has warned Namibians to be on their guard against these scams.
According to a statement issued by the company, criminals are taking advantage of the financially vulnerable and people looking for information about the pandemic to defraud them or steal their personal details.
The country manager for TransUnion Namibia, Lara Burger, says cybercriminals are sending emails and text messages from seemingly legitimate organisations with information about the coronavirus or financial improvement schemes.
She said in the past few months, fraudsters have been active on social media and public platforms to try and take advantage of unsuspecting individuals.
“Once people click on the links in emails or text messages, they unknowingly download software which allows criminals to take control of their devices and access their personal information and financial data, which could lead to identity theft,” says Burger.
According to her identity theft is a huge problem in Namibia.
“The problem with this type of crime is that victims only find out about the theft months later, by which time the fraudsters would have obtained false lines of credit and racked up significant debt in their name.”
Burger warns that phishing is a major part of identity theft and fraud.
“You will get an official-looking email from a bank or other organisation offering you information or asking you to verify some aspect of your account. Do not do it. No reputable company will ever ask to verify details by clicking on a link in an email.”
Burger advises that people should make sure they have a strong password for important accounts such banking, online shopping and email. The best way to check if your identity and credit is safe is to check your credit report, bank and card statements.
“Fraudsters are especially active at a time of crisis when people are distracted. Keep track of what is on your credit report for signs of suspicious activity, such as accounts that you do not recognise or credit checks from companies with which you have never done business,” Burger advises.