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Online scammers peddle fake R25 vacation deal

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 16 Nov 2023
Sun international has warned customers of a bogus online promotion.
Sun international has warned customers of a bogus online promotion.

Sun International has warned its customers not to fall victim to a social media scam offering accommodation and dinner at any Sun City hotel for R25.

The post on social media platform Facebook claims Sun International is giving away 200 nights, each to the value of R8 657, at any of its Sun City resorts.

The post describes the offer alternatively as a celebration of Sun City’s 50th or 55th anniversary. However, Sun City only opened in 1979, making the resort 44 years old.

“To honour our golden milestone, we’re offering an exclusive deal for the first 200 lucky guests. Book a lavish night at one of our world-class Sun City Hotels for just R25,” reads the social media post.

Additionally, when clicking on the link in the post, customers are led to a Shopify-based website that looks similar to the official Sun City site featuring the Sun City logo.

In the description box, the scammers wrote that the R25 fee was to “prevent fraud and ensure only one voucher is purchased per person”.

The organisation says it was made aware of the scam after receiving multiple enquiries via its Facebook page, and to its knowledge, no customers have lost money to the scam.

Helen Stewart, Sun International chief marketing officer, says although there are a number of cyber security tools in place to protect customer information, social media scams, such as this one, are out of the organisation’s control.

“Social media and online scams are always tricky as these are not controlled by Sun International. Scammers have ways and means to create legitimate-type advertising, which is difficult to prevent, especially when they are targeted at the non-tech-savvy customers.

“We try where possible to scan the environment for such scams and work with our service providers to take down any potential unsolicited sites,” says Stewart.

Sun City GM Brett Hoppe emphasises this is a scam clearly intended to defraud people, and customers should visit the company’s official site for enquiries on offers.

“Before replying to any accommodation offer for any Sun International property, please confirm that it is a valid deal by visiting our official website Better still, book directly on our direct-booking platform, which also offers great deals, or use a registered tour operator,” says Hoppe.

The organisation notes it has engaged with its legal team to assist with the matter.

The prevalence of online scams is increasing in SA, with many people parting with large amounts of money due to these cons.

Research by cyber security company Surfshark placed SA as the fifth-highest country in the world in terms of cyber crime, citing phishing, online payment fraud and investment fraud as some of the cyber crimes that plague South Africans.

Earlier this year, online scammers cloned the website and social media pages of South African shoe store Froggie Shoes. The scammers tricked the public into parting with thousands of rands.