Thuli Madonsela, a former public protector, has spoken out about how a person who took over a friend’s WhatsApp profile and used it to regularly steal “small amounts” of money from her and other friends defrauded her “for months on end.”
Madonsela assessed that she and others in her circle who had been designated by the trickster, who professed to be a shared companion in critical monetary waterways, had been taken for roughly R10000 out and out.
The story arose in a tweet she posted for her yesterday where she said: ” I and a companion lost a large number of rands from a seized the trickster WhatsApp profile of a shared companion.
He was impersonating that friend. My son and I discovered the con and alerted other friends only when the conman became so greedy and brazen. WhatsApp ID hacking and theft are real.
In a phone interview, Madonsela said the companion whose WhatsApp profile had been seized was somebody known to her and her companions, and they frequently contributed to help the lady, who was feeling down in the dumps, utilizing the eWallet stage.
Madonsela said that it wasn’t until her son helped her realize she was being scammed that she began to notice jarring things that should have been obvious throughout the experience. She seemed a little amused by the fact that she had been conned so easily.
“Each time I called to address my companion there appeared to be an issue with the line or her telephone and she would message saying she could hear me but since her telephone was broken I presumably couldn’t hear her.
“Also, the terms of endearment she used, such as “darling,” were not typically used by my friend to describe me, but I was so preoccupied most of the time that I didn’t really pay much attention. It wasn’t until later.
Madonsela said she had barely any familiarity with how the eWallet functions, yet her child got suspicious….
“We utilized my child’s cell number for an eWallet which was gathered in Joburg while the scanner asserted not to have gotten the pin. Through that we knew where the sum was gathered. He was now in Joburg, which we knew.
“We could also determine from the text language that he was youngish and male.”
When she mentioned the problem to friends from the same group, they all confirmed that the same person had conned them. He or she had even sent pictures of an empty fridge to show how bad the situation was and said she couldn’t feed her kids.
When Madonsela was asked if the incident had been reported to the police, she responded that she asked her friend to report it when she discovered it was a scam and finally got in touch with the real friend whose profile had been hijacked.
Carey van Vlaanderen, a specialist in Essential Security Against Evolving Threats, stated that WhatsApp, which has 23 million users in South Africa and is the most popular social messaging platform, was a popular platform for con artists looking to make a quick buck.
“WhatsApp scams are typically social engineering scams that are difficult for users to spot because they frequently take advantage of human rather than technical vulnerabilities.
“This makes it significant for clients to have doubts of spontaneous messages or demands and to confirm the validness of any correspondence or proposition prior to doing anything more.”