Statistics South Africa says almost two-thirds of South African households now have at least one person who accesses the Internet. Add this to the fact that Africa’s most advanced economy boasts 95% 4G mobile data coverage and it’s clear that SA’s 31 million web users are ready for anti-fraud advice.
That’s according to Huge Networks Commercial Director, Rad Jankovic, who says there are many ways Internet users can help to prevent domain name fraud in South Africa.
SA web users are not powerless in the face of local and foreign fraudsters who prefer to direct the awesome potential of the web towards nefarious purposes,”
Attempts at online fraud often take the form of a fake banking website, an email pretending to come from a government department with a valuable tender opportunity, or simply a message from a “relative” who has died and left you a fortune.
Mr Jankovic says there are four primary ways would-be Internet fraud victims can hit back at scammers. “It’s vital web users report any fraudulent online activity. We can’t beat all forms of crime without taking that first step of reporting it”.
I’ve found a fraudulent South African website, what should I do?
If you have discovered a South African website that appears to be fraudulent, you may be able to lodge a Take-Down Notice to have that site removed from the Internet. A Take-Down Notice can be lodged on ISPA’s website. If you are not sure if the site is hosted by an ISPA member, you can select “Unknown” as the target, and ISPA will try to assist in identifying the relevant ISPA member. The Take-Down Notice process is limited to removing content hosted by an ISP and it can’t be used to deactivate a domain name, or as a mechanism to obtain identifying information.
I think a .ZA domain name is being used for fraud, what should I do?
The ZA Central Registry (ZACR) is the custodian of the largest South African subdomains (those ending in .co.za, .org.za, .web.za and .net.za). If you are aware of one of those domains being used for malicious or fraudulent purposes, then you can report that to the ZACR using this complaints form which should be sent to email@example.com.
Somebody is using a domain name to pretend to be my company, what should I do?
If your company has an online presence (www.joescompany.co.za) and you discover that someone has registered a very similar domain name (www.joecompany.co.za), with the intention of pretending to be you, then you can pursue a domain dispute with the relevant domain name authority. For a South African domain name (one ending in .za), the .ZA Domain Name Authority administers, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Process designed to resolve domain disputes.
I’ve been a victim of online fraud, what should I do?
If you have been a victim of online fraud, then in addition to any of the above steps, you may also wish to report the matter to the appropriate authorities. If a serious crime has been committed, you need to report it to the SAPS at a police station. Cybercrime, such as online fraud, is still a crime. If you don't want to report a crime, but would like to report possible online fraud or suspicious activity, you can use firstname.lastname@example.org to report it to the national Cybersecurity Hub.
Mr Jankovic concludes:
Sooner or later, almost all web users are going to be confronted with an online fraud attempt. Knowledge is power and SA web users are fortunate to have access to world-class ICT industry associations and individual firms able to provide quality anti-fraud information.