The South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) has been hit by a new scam targeting pensioners and the more vulnerable grant recipients. The scam sees individuals acquiring the details of recipients, before cloning their cards and using it to buy services such as electricity and airtime. The Department of Social Development has released a press release on the issue, aiming to raise awareness about the scam.
Specifically targeting pensioners, scammers are telephonically contacting recipients whilst posing as Sassa officials. They attempt to acquire the account information of an individual, by asking them to validate their personal details. Most notably, the scammers attempt to get recipients to divulge their Sassa account number.
“That enables the people that get that information to hack money from the older beneficiaries, and in many cases they take everything out of your account,” warned MEC for Social Development, Albert Fritz.
The scam, whilst primarily targeting residents of Khayelitsha, has of late been doing to rounds in other areas as well. Cases have now also been reported in Sea Point. The department has since warned grant recipients not to entertain calls from such individuals, further urging them not to disclose their Sassa details to anyone.
With the scammers having access to the contact details of grant recipients, Fritz suggested this may point to an ‘inside job’. However, he assured the community that the department was working closely with Sassa to investigate the matter. To further emphasize the point, he noted that of 238 cases this year, they had managed to resolve 90% of cases.
“I want to say that we have a very good working rate, and we are getting solutions. We are trying to publicize this scam, so that our older persons listen and understand that when someone phones them, they mustn’t give information to anyone saying they are from Sassa,” he added
Sassa has also assured victims that they would be able to claim back any monies lost as a result of the scam.
Anyone with information that would like to assist the department in their investigation, may contact them via the number 0800 220 250. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)