With rugby fervour in full swing, here come the ‘Bokker’ scams
Durban fan R1,600 out of pocket after falling for fake supporter jersey website — here’s how not to be next
Scammers are taking full advantage of South Africans' excitement about the Springboks playing in the Rugby World Cup (RWC) final this weekend — and the huge spike in demand for green and gold merchandise that goes with it.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are awash with adverts for Springbok jerseys, though legitimate retailers are reporting they have been sold out since the weekend.
“Travis of Durban”, which is how the “very embarrassed” KwaZulu-Natal fan asked to be named, said he responded to the “Buy 2 jerseys and get 1 free” ad on the “sarugbyjerseys.co.za” website on Monday after he was sent the link by a friend.
He made a card payment of R1,598 for men’s Nike Springboks RWC 2023 collared jerseys as a gift for his staff. They were advertised at R800 each. Sportsmans Warehouse was selling the same Nike jersey for R1,400 each before they sold out.
Travis said he failed to notice the red flags because he’d assumed his friend had “done all the checks”.
“I did no research whatsoever,” he admitted. “I just went for it. I am not an old man, and usually I do my checks — but not this time.”
Travis didn’t notice the glaring mistakes on the website’s home page, most notably: “Hier kom die Bokker” (instead of hier kom die Bokke, a Leon Schuster song meaning “here come the Boks”).
The site also features a blurry, very outdated image of a Springbok squad.
It has no contact details and a quick online domain age search reveals the website was created last month.
Asked when he was promised delivery, Travis said there was no specific delivery promise, which is highly suspicious, given supporters would want to receive their jerseys by Saturday at the latest, and ideally in time for Bok Friday when people across the country wear the green and gold.
No legitimate stock for sale
Waseem Limalia, manager of sports goods retailer Solly M Sports, which has branches in Durban and Cape Town, said they sold out the R1,400 collared “Stadium” Nike Springbok jersey first, and the R1,000 supporters jersey last Saturday.
“We are seeing so many Bok jerseys still on sale on Facebook, but there is literally no stock to be had,” he said.
There are multiple websites peddling the out-of-stock jerseys, including bokkejerseys.co.za and bokkieculture.store, all at “bargain” prices.
“Retailers have only one way to get stock, via Nike’s portal, and they don’t have any stock at all,” Limalia said.
Spotting an online scam
Released last week, Visa's Stay Secure study — conducted across 17 countries in central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa — revealed a disconnect between consumers’ confidence in recognising fraudulent approaches and their actual online behaviour.
Those who thought themselves very unlikely to fall for a scam were the ones who were most likely to do so.
South African respondents were among those who had the highest confidence in their ability to spot a scam, but 64% of South African respondents admitting to falling for one.
Only 33% said they checked sites and e-mails for spelling and language issues.
WHAT TO DO
When you are in the market for a product which is in short supply and relatively expensive, know scam offers will be plentiful.
- Never buy from online sites that only provide an e-mail address as a means of contact, and sometimes not even that.
- If the only thing you find under “Contact” is a form requiring you to provide your
e-mail address and message without providing theirs, do not proceed. If a physical address is provided, do a Google Maps search to see if it checks out. You could also contact businesses in the given street to check whether they are trading there.
- Do reverse image searches on product images to find out how much legitimate retailers are selling the item for, or were selling them for before they sold out.
- Do a domain age search to find out when the website was set up. If it was only a few months earlier, be very wary.
- Check out the company/product reviews online.
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