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Scams Client Security Awareness


The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a major increase of opportunistic criminal activity on the internet.

Cyber criminals are sending all sorts of scams related to the pandemic. Malicious websites and phishing attacks are benefitting from the COVID-19 panic, and are targeting people working from home, many of whom face dire financial situations. Scammers are setting up fake charities, advertising fake COVID-19 related products, spreading fake news and luring us with low interest loans or high return investments.

The objectives of these attempts are to steal your money and/or access your personal information.

Spotting a Scam

Be wary when you see:

  • Any message (email, SMS or WhatsApp) trying to persuade you to transfer money to a beneficiary account number that is new or unfamiliar to you
  • An upfront request for advanced payment
  • Communication containing linguistic and grammatical errors (but not always)
  • Guaranteed high or quick returns – any ‘get rich quick’ promises
  • An email address which you’re unsure about or doesn’t look exactly right
  • Any message which tries to pressure you to make a decision and act

Don't be fooled into thinking that:

  • Scammers will not use WhatsApp, because you can see their cell phone number
  • The scammers have a true concern for you as a person
  • Scammers will not try to use reputable brands like that of Sanlam

Responding to Scams

If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Be very cautious of highly lucrative investment offers.

  • If anyone contacts you or if you receive an unexpected and unfamiliar message on email, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook or LinkedIn, don’t respond. DON'T click on a link, open an attachment or provide any personal information.
  • Whenever you receive a link, don’t simply click on it. Rather visit the "real" website by doing a Google search or type the website name to check its authenticity.
  • Don’t trust anything you didn't expect, even if it looks like it comes from someone you know or trust. Verify the offer by using an alternative channel and alternative information.
  • If you need help or want to report a scam call Sanlam’s Client Care Centre on +27 860 726 526

Examples of Scams

Watch out for these known scams trying to impersonate the Sanlam brand.


Retirement Benefit Scam

Sanlam has been made aware of fraudsters pretending to represent well-known retirement benefits service providers, such as Sanlam. The fraudsters, claiming to be Sanlam employees, contact retirement fund members and mislead these unsuspecting clients into believing that additional funds are due to them. The fraudsters then obtain members’ bank account details, bank card numbers and CVV numbers, which they use to do fraudulent transactions from the members' bank accounts.


Vault Account Scam

International sources have informed us about a scam that is very effective with older people. The fraudsters contact the victim, presenting themselves as the fraud department at the victim’s bank. They inform the victim that fraudulent activity was detected on their bank account and suggest that the victim transfers the money from their account to a ‘Vault Account’ for safekeeping, while the bank “investigates the attempted fraud”. The ‘Vault Account’ is owned by the fraudsters and the victim loses the money.


Change of Bank Account Details Scam

The information highlighted with the red flags indicates that it is fake.


Fake Investment Schemes Scam

Be aware of recent scams that impersonate the Sanlam Brand and target potential customers via Facebook or WhatsApp.

Fraudsters have shifted their focus to WhatsApp, Facebook or SMS because users are now more vulnerable to scams on mobile phones, as people find themselves being more distracted and often don’t apply the same vigilance on their phones as they would on their computers. The scams are quite focused and conversational, which creates trust, so please ensure that you always verify all messages received.

How does this attack work?

  1. You receive a message via Facebook or WhatsApp, advertising a fake Sanlam investment product. The returns of these investments are too good to be true, but to the uninformed investor, this looks like a very good opportunity.
  2. The fraudsters often use names of Sanlam senior management, as well as Sanlam branding and even provide Sanlam brochures. The fraudsters source all this information from public platforms, like internet websites.
  3. Victims who fall for this are then asked to join a Sanlam branded business WhatsApp group and are instructed to pay the investment amount into a nominated bank account and provide proof of payment
  4. Once payment is done, the victim can no longer gain access to the WhatsApp group and usually ends up calling Sanlam

What to watch out for:

  1. Any random messages (email, SMS or WhatsApp) trying to persuade you to transfer money to a beneficiary account number that you have not dealt with before
  2. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is (fraudsters pry on emotions like fear and greed)
  3. When receiving anything unexpected, always say to yourself: "Stop – Think – Verify". You can also contact Sanlam to verify.

If you have fallen prey to such a scam, report it online. Here is an example:


Hacked Email Account Scam

This is an attack that shows the value of keeping your email account safe:

Report a Scam or Fraud

We encourage our staff, clients and stakeholders to report unethical or corrupt behaviour. If you suspect fraudulent activity involving any of Sanlam’s companies or clients, you can confidentially report this.

Report Now