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The Ministry of Small Business Development warned the people of South Africa about the fake social media accounts of Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Dipuo Peters.

The minister issued a statement on Tuesday, revealing that there are many fake Facebook and LinkedIn accounts of the deputy minister and it seems to be a well-coordinated plan by con artists to attack small business owners.

"This appears to be a well-coordinated plan by con artists to target small business owners through impersonating the leadership of the Department of Small Business Development. A similar scam targeting Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was discovered a few weeks ago," the ministry said, SA News reported.

The ministry said that no official department or minister will ever ask for "upfront fees" from anyone to fund their business or provide any business opportunities.

The ministry noted that these fake accounts are being created by scammers to defraud innocent citizens and gullible individuals.

"They are using the name and position of the Deputy Minister to solicit money from poor and struggling ordinary South Africans in exchange for non-existent funding or favors," it mentioned.

The department cautioned the citizens to not fall prey to these criminals and emphasized that no business funding for small business owners would be facilitated or concluded by officials on social media.

Furthermore, the minister or deputy minister is never directly involved in distributing funds to the business owners as this work is handled by relevant officials within the department.

The ministry requested victims of fake profiles to report to the police immediately. Moreover, the department also shared the Deputy Minister's official links on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok.

Last year, the minister in the presidency of South Africa Khumbudzo Ntshavheni urged Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, to address fake news and misinformation on its social media platforms.