‘Corona-mania’: SA banking group warns citizens about a flurry of scams_1

SABRIC, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, have issued an official warning to all banking clients in the country. This, after the spread of the coronavirus forced the government to implement drastic social distancing measures. However, Mzansi’s criminal class only see this as an opportunity to scam us.


On Monday, we reported about a scheme crooks are using to exploit COVID-19 for their own gain. Thieves are going from door-to-door, pretending to be Netcare paramedics who are offering coronavirus tests. This is a false pretence, which criminals use to gain access to homes and rob their victims blind. Sadly, this type of brass-neckery is also being committed online.

Coronavirus scams surface – what to avoid


SABRIC have revealed a number of scams are currently up and running, looking to trick vulnerable and scared targets into handing over their bank details: The methodology includes:

Spoofed emails offering products such as masks, or fake offerings of vaccines, leading to phishing websites These emails come from seemingly realistic and reputable companies which manipulate people into clicking on links Cybercriminals are also using SMS Phishing, more commonly known as SMishing, to trick victims into clicking on a link disguised as information on a Coronavirus breakout in their area to steal their credentials.Once criminals have the correct level of confidential information about a victim’s bank account, they can impersonate the victim and transact using the correct credentials but without authority.

“Corona-mania” can hurt us online


We’ve even learnt a new word from SABRIC: Their warning to avoid “corona-mania” – the mass panic caused by the spread of the illness – is a sincere plea for online bank customers to “think before clicking”.


“We would like to warn bank clients that cybercriminals are exploiting the spread of coronavirus for their own gain using ‘corona-mania’ panic to spread Coronavirus scams. Coronavirus scams exploit people’s concerns for their health and safety and pressure them into being tricked using ‘social engineering’.”
“Social engineering is manipulative and exploits human vulnerability because criminals know that the weakest link in the information security chain is the human being. Although some spoofed emails can be difficult to identify, we urge clients to think twice before clicking on any link, even if an email looks legitimate.” SABRIC