• A WhatsApp urging people to check if their name is on a list of those eligible for "benefits of R33 000 by Department of Labour of South Africa" appears to be picking up steam.
  • There is no list, and no benefits, and the department of labour is not involved.
  • Instead the scam convinces people to send the message on to others, then serves up dodgy advertising.

The department of labour does not have a list of people who are eligible for R33,000 in benefits – and will not transfer that money straight into a bank account.

That promise is just another variation on a WhatsApp scam that relies on people spreading the word, and then tries to convince them to click on a range of dodgy advertisements.

A very similar scam around supposed Spar Black Friday vouchers is also still doing the rounds in South Africa.

See also: No, Spar won't give you a R2,999 Black Friday voucher for sending WhatsApps

The supposed department of labour message reads:

The workers who worked between the 1990 and 2018, have the rights to get the *benefits of R33 000 by Department of Labour of South Africa*. Check if your name is in the list of the people who have the rights to withdraw this benefits

It then refers users to the websites such as fwcauses.com/labour-za and mulhervaidosa.info/za-labour, poor fakes of the website of the department of labour. There users are asked to take a short survey, which is also fake, before being told to share "this opportunity" via WhatsApp.

"After you share, you will be redirected to finalise the process and get the benefit directly in your bank account," the website promises.

Instead, after sharing the message, users are redirected to a notorious advertising network that then serves up advertising pages for a wide range of dubious products and scams.

When Business Insider South Africa evaluated the fwcauses website on Tuesday, it also carried programmatic advertising for insurance price-comparison website Hippo.*

See also on News24: Exposed: How corporates are funding fake news

The labour department on Tuesday issued a statement warning people against the scam.

"The claim is a blatant fake," the department said.

"There is no list of workers who are due to get benefits."

*UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon Hippo said it had added the fake department of labour website to a list of blacklisted sites, keywords, and “negative matches”, which will prevent its advertising from being displayed there.
“Hippo.co.za does not employ tactics that purposely or expressly target fake news or illegal websites in order to promote our brand or its products,” it said.  
“At Hippo.co.za, we remain committed to protecting our brand integrity and values. As such we are continually doing everything within our control to ensure that our advertising does not appear nor indirectly support fake news and illegal websites.”