An email scam in South Africa is conning members of the public out of money, through emails offering low-rate loans purporting to be sent by short term loan provider Wonga.

The South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – known as the Hawks – in the Western Cape said three people have reported the scam, which offers loans at an interest rate of 3.5 per cent, reports the South African Press Association (SAPA).

Applicants are required to transfer money to cover administration, legal and agent’s fees in order for the loan application to be processed.

“An email is sent out to email users informing them that they could qualify for a loan at Wonga Finance SA (Pty), which is a registered credit provider,” said Captain Malcolm Pojie.

“One of the complainants had made a total [payment] of ZAR24,000 (US$2,300) without receiving the ‘approved loan’.”

Wonga said it is aware of the scam, admitting the scammers are using the Wonga logo, company registration number and national credit regulator number.

Kevin Hurwitz, chief executive officer (CEO) of Wonga SA, said the only way to apply for a Wonga loan is via the website, never through email, adding the company does not ever require any advance payments for loan applications.

“If the offer sounds too good to be true it probably is,” Hurwitz said.

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