Fraud is a big concern in the retirement fund industry, costing millions and leaving victims frustrated and in other cases even destitute having been swindled off lots of money.
Having left a trail of deceit, these fraudsters immediately move on to their next scam, prying on often unsuspecting and desperate people.
Fraud varies in degree of severity. In some instances, millions are stolen from victims and companies or as little as possible but from many people. Nevertheless, the impact it has on victims and their loved-ones is terrifying while companies also have to battle with this scourge.
Some examples of fraud that can be perpetrated against individuals include small unauthorised debit order amounts deducted from individual's bank accounts, bank card "cloning" and subsequent unauthorised use, cellular phone "sim swap" and then unauthorised accessing of bank accounts, fraudulent "investment opportunities" where individuals are promised super large returns, promises to assist in accessing "surplus monies" or unclaimed benefits for a fee and many others.
It is possible, however, to fight fraud and protect your personal information and hard-earned money from criminals posing as legitimate representatives of an organisation. The EPPF takes strict measures to protect your savings and limit fraud. We work hard to identify suspicious activities and keeping up with the ongoing demand of reviewing and strengthening our control environment. It is, however, important that you remain on the lookout for fraud that may be targeting you personally as an EPPF Member or Pensioner.
Here are a few tips you can use to protect yourself against fraud:
- Protect your personal information and never share passwords or disclose details about your financial affairs or records to third parties,
- You should dispose of personal information in a responsible manner. Fraudsters are known for dumpster diving, i.e. stealing personal records by sifting through dumpsters or trash bins,
- You should guard against responding to electronic messages (text; sms or email) asking for personal information and appear to be from your bank or EPPF. Where you are unsure, contact your bank or call our contact centre to verify authenticity of information requests,
- Be careful when clicking on links to websites provided on emails, these may direct you to fraudulent websites that would appear legitimate,
- Be wary of individuals/organisations who claim to be working for the Fund or a bank or any financial institution. You are advised to request some form of identification and contact the relevant institution to confirm that you are talking to a legitimate person. Do not disclose personal details unless you are sure of who you are talking to.
Remote rural areas may be easy targets
Scammers may work alone, but in some instances, they form part of syndicates, are well-organised sometimes with company documentation that looks legitimate. They like to target unsuspecting people especially in remote rural areas but may try their luck anywhere in the country.
Pensioners and Members in rural areas are often approached by third party service providers claiming to want to help them. They are charged exorbitant fees in exchange to