Get It Durban enlightens its readers after having dealt with an impostor page purporting to be us.
Get It needs no introduction. Caxton Local Media’s group of glossy community magazines is a firm favourite in households across South Africa. With a hyperlocal focus on people, shopping, and lifestyle in your area, the magazine and its online extensions have become known for providing a relaxing, informative, and trustworthy read.
This is why readers of Get It Durban were quick to notify us of a fake Facebook page purporting to represent the magazine.
The below image depicts the imposter page profile, accessible here. It has no followers and no likes. It has been alleged that the page was used for scams, and the legitimate Get It Durban page has disabled the fraudulent version from contacting readers via our Facebook page.
We have also obtained legal advice, and any further attempts by the impostor page to misrepresent themselves as us will be met by immediate legal action.
Meanwhile, Get It Durban’s legitimate Facebook page has 11 000 likes and 13 000 followers, and currently looks like this.
At Get It Durban, we believe that knowledge is power, and we have knocked on a legal expert’s door for guidance on how to avoid falling prey to fake social media pages. Attorney Helene Viljoen also explains how the law can help victims of profile cloning and scamming.
“Step one is constant vigilance. By keeping your wits about you, you can avoid falling victim to online fraudsters,” she says.
“Ways of increasing your viligance include vetting pages and profiles before interacting with them online. In this case, readers could have visited the impostor page, where they would have seen that it has no likes or followers. When compared with the legitimate page, the real Mc Coy clearly stands out.”
Helene suggests delving into a page or profile’s history to see whether its activity has been consistent over a substantial period of time. Looking into followers, likes, and page activity in general should point towards reliability. “Remember that Google is your friend. Search for the page you seek, and Google will quickly respond with its social media accounts, enabling you to see whether they have been verified or seem legitimate.”
She advises readers to steer clear of anyone who asks for your credit or debit card details. “Be very careful. Phishing scams trick web users into providing their personal information online. Before giving out your details, ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate entity.”
In a society where many prefer texts and emails over telephone calls, Helene reminds readers that a good old telephone call goes a long way. “Before interacting with a page or giving them, look up their number and call their offices to confirm who you are dealing with, and that they are legitimate.”
She explains that South African law protectd scamming victims via, for example, the Protection from Harassment Act, 2011. “This piece of legislation allows victims to obtain court orders against those who pretend to be them online. Magistrates who make such orders may also direct the police to investigate online irregularities.”
This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ssUClCruC8) explains how anyone can fill out the required form in terms of the Act, enabling them to apply for a court order. According to Helene, this can be done without the help of an attorney.
Click here to download the form (https://www.justice.gov.za/forms/pha/j059-form2.pdf).
Lastly, she urges victims of cyberscammers to report it to the police. “Cybercrime is punishable by law and should be reported just like you would report any other crime,” she concludes.