South African Ministry of Finance minister Pravin Gordhan. CC image courtesy of GovernmentZA, on Flickr.
In a statement, the ministry said fraudsters using Gordhan’s name were preying on the public for financial purposes.
“These fake accounts are the latest attempt to con the public, both in South Africa and abroad, of their hard-earned money,” the statement said.
“The ministry condemns the use of the Minister's name and photographs, and reiterates that such scams can only succeed to the extent that members of the public have an unquenchable thirst for easy wealth.”
The ministry said last year it had warned the public about bogus letters and emails claiming to be from Gordhan and other senior officials.
HumanIPO reported last year Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim, Nigeria's chief of defence staff, had confirmed there was a parody Facebook account in his name, with the defence headquarters warning the public: “Any person who transacts any business or makes any comment in the said fake Facebook account does so at his or her own risk.”
Facebook in May followed Twitter by introducing verified pages to ensure users are viewing the actual intended person or brand rather than fake parody pages of profiles.
Earlier in the same week more than 400 South Africans had been the victim of clone accounts, which pose as somebody’s friend as they make requests for money.
Initially Facebook’s verified pages will only be available to high profile public figures or popular brands, with such pages carrying a small blue circle with a tick inside.