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Beware of opportunistic criminals using COVID-19 for scamming
Author: Facilities Management
Published: 19/03/2020

​Opportunistic criminals will most probably be making the most of the COVID-19 situation to get their hands on your property, whether it is by way of phishing emails with infected attachments containing so-called “safety messages" or people knocking at your door pretending to be from a health or medical organisation checking up on you.

Head of campus security at Stellenbosch University, Dr Viljoen van der Walt, said it is essential to be vigilant at all times and make sure that the source of your information is valid and reputable.

Van der Walt said there are already lots of internet criminal activities where anything from vaccines to surgical face masks are being offered. “Already, hundreds of websites have been registered offering discounted facemasks. These products are more than likely counterfeit or, in some cases, do not exist at all. As soon as you've paid, the website will disappear as quickly as it appeared," he said.

“We will also see people selling hand sanitisers, face masks and other items everywhere, leveraging fear of the coronavirus to take peoples' money and information. It is important to be aware of the fact that these opportunists will take advantage of ignorance wherever they can."

According to Van der Walt, it is essential not to let any strangers into your house, unless you have made an appointment with someone and that person had confirmed his or her identity before entering your premises. “Please note that medical staff do not do ad hoc and unannounced door-to-door Covid-19 screening. If someone claims they are from the Department of Health or any other medical organisation, do not allow them onto your property or inside your business premises and alert the SAPS immediately."​

For SU campus emergencies: 021 808 2333 (Stellenbosch) and 021 938 9507 (Tygerberg). If you need to contact Facilities Management, call their helpdesk at 021 808 4666 or email them at