Pretoria – The National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has warned students across all universities applying for funding to be vigilant.
According to the NSFAS, fraudsters were impersonating its officials and asking students to pay a fee when applying.
Spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo said they were recently made aware of a number – 067 133 6269 – calling and requesting students to pay R300 in order to be funded.
The Pretoria News called the number several times, but it went unanswered on Friday.
Mamabolo said a whistle-blower did not specify which institutions had been hit by the scam, but he reminded students that applications were free of charge.
“Fraudsters are now targeting students by asking them to pay when submitting their applications for 2020.
“We would like to send a strong warning to those trying to defraud students. We would like to extend our apologies to those affected, and in the same breath, warn all students to be vigilant and aware of such scams. Applications are free of charge.”
Mamabolo said they had set up a dedicated fraud hotline, called Vuvuzela, for whistle-blowers to report cases.
“We appeal to students, applicants, employees and community members to report any suspicious activity promptly on the fraud hotline.
“All calls are kept strictly confidential, and callers may remain anonymous.”
Institutions in Pretoria said no such incidents had been reported yet.
Tshwane University of Technology spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said they had not received any complaints from students.
However, the warning about the scam had been posted on the institution’s website.
Unisa also said no students had complained.
“To report any fraud, please call toll free number 0860 247 653, SMS “Call-back” to 30916, or email email@example.com,” NSFAS said. “For more details on how you can report, visit www.thehotine.co.za.”