How to protect yourself
UNICEF is deeply concerned about the fraudulent use of our name and logo by unethical individuals who deliberately abuse the trust of UNICEF supporters worldwide. Following are details on how fraud is perpetrated – and how to help protect both UNICEF and yourself from its potentially serious consequences.
We have received reports that imposters may now be using UNICEF’s name – and our hard-earned credibility – to solicit members of the public via websites, social media, e-mails and phone calls.
These abuses have been brought to the attention of UNICEF’s legal department. We are alerting the public as well, in an effort to ensure that innocent victims are not lured into providing their personal contact details.
Please be advised that non-UNICEF websites, e-mails and phone calls offering training courses, jobs, opportunities to bid or prizes on behalf of UNICEF are fabricated and fraudulent.
Beware of ‘phishing’
With heightened media attention regarding the theft of personal data, many consumers – as well as supporters of humanitarian organizations like UNICEF – are concerned about the privacy and integrity of their personal data.
That’s why it is important to be aware of fraudulent Internet correspondence, also known as ‘phishing’.
Phishing is a type of fraud in which e-mail messages, instant messages and websites are used to deceive individuals into providing confidential, personal information. The term relates to the idea that people will ‘take the bait’ and disclose personal information, which can be used for credit card fraud and other serious violations of privacy.
Phishing e-mails generally appear to be sent from legitimate organizations, asking users to either reply or link to a web page to update their personal information. They sometimes contain an organizational logo and even a physical address, but the web address, or URL, does not match that of the legitimate organization.
Don’t get ‘hooked’
Among the data typically requested by phishers are the user’s name and address; identity number; account numbers and passwords; and bank account and credit card information — sometimes even the account holder’s mother’s maiden name or other private information used for security purposes.
Here are some measures you can take to avoid getting ‘hooked’ by a phishing scheme:
- Be alert to any unexpected e-mail, instant message, voicemail or fax that claims to be from a bank, credit card company, online service or charitable organization with which you have an account or membership
- If you do receive such a message, call the appropriate customer or donor service number (but not any number provided in the message) and verify whether it is legitimate
- Do not respond to any e-mail, phone or fax instructions that prompt you to divulge your personal information
- Do not click on any links in a suspicious e-mail; clicking on such a link may cause the download of key-logging or ‘spyware’ programmes onto your computer
- Regularly log on to your online banking, credit card or other accounts and reconcile your statement balances to ensure that all transactions are legitimate
- Use up-to-date anti-virus software – including spam filters and even ‘anti-phishing’ programmes, which are available to help screen out potential phishers on websites and e-mails.
Examples of fraud
March 2021 - The screenshot above shows how UNICEF’s name can be misused for fraudulent purposes. The phishing email attempt to solicit an email response from the recipient. The invitation to bid is not connected in any way to UNICEF’s legitimate work. UNICEF South Africa publishes procurement opportunities here and is guided by transparent processes and procedures. Also note that UNICEF South Africa does not own any facilities in South Africa. Neither the email address nor the phone number belongs to UNICEF South Africa.
You can contact us at email@example.com.
More examples of internet fraud
Fraudulent Request for Quotations
June 2020 - UNICEF is aware that there are Request for Quotations (RFQs) that are being publicly shared with the UNICEF logo and claiming to be from UNICEF South Africa. The RFQs are for deep-clean materials and other products used for sanitation during the Covid-19 Pandemic. These RFQs are a fraudulent scam and this matter is currently being investigated by the relevant authorities. UNICEF South Africa will only place such RFQs on this site or www.ungm.org
Fraudulent ECD Training scheme
January 2020 – UNICEF South Africa wishes to distance itself from an early childhood development (ECD) training that is currently being shared on various platforms and which claims to be supported by UNICEF.
Please be informed that UNICEF:
- Does not have a partnership with the Maseru Foundation or any organization that claims to provide this particular training.
- Has not endorsed any training as indicated in the adverts that are being circulated.
- Has not given permission for the use of the UNICEF name and logo.
October 2019 – It has been brought to the attention of UNICEF South Africa that there is a fraudulent notice indicating that UNICEF, with SASSA, the DSD, Shoprite, Pick n Pay and other entities are granting unemployed citizens of South Africa grocery vouchers to the value of R2200.
UNICEF confirms that this is not a legitimate initiative and should be disregarded and is investigating this scam with the relevant authorities.
Fraudulent ECD training scheme
January 2019 - An organisation called ‘Maseru Foundation Skills Development Centre” adverted training in Early Childhood Development through WhatsApp messages and possibly other means as well. The advertisement refers to UNICEF as well as the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The so-called ‘training’ involves the purchasing of a Manual for R300 from the Maseru Foundation Skills Development Centre. This is a scam. Neither UNICEF nor DBE:
- Were aware of this organisation or the training mentioned.
- Have a partnership with this organisation.
- Have endorsed any training as indicated in the hoax notice.
- Have given permission for the names of UNICEF and DBE to be mentioned.
Please do not respond to any such communications that prompt you to reply to an e-mail address with a non-UNICEF domain name.