Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is spearheading a cybercrime and security campaign that aims to get South Africans, especially those in rural areas, to be aware when they make use of technology.
The Minister on Thursday was in Sakhela village in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, to spread the message of the importance of exercising vigilance in the digital space.
"Some people in the villages fall victim to cybercrime because... they are looking for better opportunities. They get phone calls from people claiming to be in Gauteng, offering them opportunities. They get excited without thinking that there are crooks out there who only want to rob them," Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), in 2017, the banking sector saw approximately 13 438 incidents across all banking apps, online banking and mobile banking.
Ndabeni-Abrahams said her department is ramping up cyber safety efforts in preparation for the festive season.
"Our citizens are more susceptible to cyber criminals during this period as they are more relaxed, less vigilant and less aware of the dangers around them."
She cautioned people to question everything they see and hear.
The cyber security outreach is part of the Department of Communications' ongoing programme of educating citizens on the threats and vulnerabilities that exist in the cyberspace and in so doing, instil a sense of confidence in the citizens' ability to transact and interact in the cyberspace.
Noma Efeso Mngeta, from the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services: Cyber Security Operations, said the public must be taught all the known methods criminals use to rob people.
Mngeta warned that people must be vigilant at all times, especially on social media.
"... Criminals stand next to ATMs and steal or look at people's PINs. They also call and pretend to be from a banking institution and say 'we have your details, your account number and we need your PIN," she said.
Mngeta urged people to safeguard their information and not to share their details with anyone.
Prior to the formal programme, Ndabeni-Abrahams visited a child-headed family where she handed over food parcels. The Minister also visited Magusheni Mthembu, an elderly man who cannot walk.
The visit to the households was in line with the centenary commemoration of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.
Also as part of the programme, 100 top performing learners from local schools were awarded ICT equipment such as tablets and cell phones.
"The 100 year anniversary of the lives of these two outstanding legends is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to their principles by building the nation we envisioned at the start of our democracy.
"It is therefore befitting that as we end the year, we honour them by contributing in any manner or form to those less fortunate and the destitute," Ndabeni-Abrahams said.