-Edited by Bev Mortimer- South Africa’s fraud prevention unit is developing a website called Yima ( Sesotho word for ‘Stop’) that is anticipated to be a one-stop shop to combat fraud, to report fraud and to assist victims.
The aim is that through this website, expected to be launched next month, the high growth of fraud in the country will be curtailed.
The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) says it is taking strong action to tackle the problem that scams are posing to the country’s economy. It is building the Yima website as a new platform to combat fraud.
SAFPS says the country has been popular for fraudsters looking for opportunities to defraud viictims. The SAFPS reveals a 600% increase in incidents reported by members in 2022, compared to 2018.
Nazia Karrim, Head of Product Development at AFPS says: “We need to establish a proactive approach to combatting fraud and scams.”
Currently, he reveals, SAFPS is developing Yima as a proactive way to combat fraud. It will provide the consumer with the tools to be proactive when preventing scams and the services to assist them when they fall victim to a scam. “This will make a significant difference in the war on scams – empowering the consumer is key to prevention,” Karrim says.
Once launched, South Africans can report scams, secure their identity, and scan any website for vulnerabilities related to scams. They will be able to educate themselves on identifying scams.
These tools will enable consumers to be more vigilant about fraud and surf the net confidently. “The main element of the website will be the ability to report a scam incident or any suspicious activity to the SAFPS.”
Karrim elaborates by saying suspicious activity includes a fake or suspect-looking online shopping website or portal and instances where a person has received phoney banking information. Scam reports will be collated and shared with law enforcement for investigation.
“Users will also be provided a scams’ hotline to report fraud incidents directly to their banks, retailers or insurance companies via a single number. Users will only need to remember one number rather than search for each institution’s contact numbers online. In addition, Yima users will have access to the consumer products and services offered by the SAFPS.”
Karrim also reminds South Africans that not all scams are conducted online. The following incident was given…
Upon returning to South Africa from a holiday in Mauritius, a woman became a victim of a scam. Her mobile SIM card malfunctioned, leaving her incredibly stressed as an important business tool was not working.
She quickly switched off her smartphone and restarted it, thinking it was a freak occurrence. A few minutes later she received a call from an individual who informed her he was from her mobile service provider. He said he noticed Her SIM card malfunctioned and that he could assist her in fixing it; all she needed to do was provide him with the one-time pin (OTP) sent to her phone.
The woman questioned him about why he needed the OTP. The man then became angry and threatened to disconnect her service immediately if she did not comply with his request. The woman, who was aware of the potential scam risks said she would take her phone to her nearest branch of her mobile operator to fix the problem, and she disconnected the call.
South Africans, Karrim says, will now be able to report such incidents on the Yima website and have direct access to their mobile providesr and banks to alert them of the issue via the scams’ hotline, Karrim says.
With combatting fraud, early detection and intervention is vital, Karrim further says, adding that the Yima platform will be perfect to communicate the message: ‘Stop. Think. Don’t get scammed!’
The Yima website will also have a newsroom portal for reports and case studies about these scams so that the public can be warned about them. It will also be a trusted space where victims can report their incidents and request assistance.
“The Yima platform will empower South Africans to access products to help secure their identity, report scam incidents and provide them with a layer of protection they never had before, free of charge,” Karrim adds.
The SAFPS is engaging with local and international industry stakeholders to build this powerful product, which it plans to launch in June after undergoing intensive Beta testing.