Warning over 10GB free data scam in South Africa

Posts doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook claim that the South African government is giving away 10 gigabytes (GB) of data.

The posts say: “Government is providing 10GB of free data to every South African household sponsored by Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.”

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies in South Africa from 2021 to 2023.

She was appointed minister in the presidency on 6 March, and left the communications portfolio.

While serving as communications minister, Ntshavheni promised that the South African government would provide every household with 10GB of free data.

The social media posts essentially claim that government has made good on this promise and include a link to a website hosted on Google’s Blogger platform that asks users to enter their phone numbers to receive their free data.

The same post has also made its way to a public Facebook group with over 81,000 members.

Africa Check has previously fact-checked similar false claims about government funding. We investigated whether this claim was any different.

Signs of a scam

There are a few red flags that the claim is a scam. It does not come directly from the South African government website or any of its verified social media accounts.

The link in the posts is hosted on Blogspot, a free content management system. Site owners often use these to earn money from views and clicks.

Social media users who click on the link are brought to a colourful, simple and unofficial-looking website that only asks for a phone number.

This is a tactic known as phishing, which gets users to give out sensitive information, like phone numbers, which can lead to fraud.

Debunked by the South African government

The South African government’s official Twitter profile posted a screenshot of the claim with “FAKE” stamped on it on 20 June.

“Don’t fall victim to #fakenews. You must always verify information before sharing it,” the tweet said.

The Twitter profile also replied to a tweet asking about the claim, confirming that it was false.

This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. MyBroadband added paragraphs four and five for additional context. View the original piece on the Africa Check website. Researched by Taryn Khourie.

Now read: Big questions about 10GB free data for every household in South Africa

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Warning over 10GB free data scam in South Africa