SANParks warns of social media scams, copyright infringement

2017-12-15 14:30 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - South African National Parks (SANParks) warns that there has been a rapid increase of groups on social media platforms impersonating the national parks under its management, a cause of great concern for the organisation. 

According to SANParks Head of Communications, Janine Raftopoulos, these various groups are making reference to the country’s national parks authority, passing off their products for personal and commercial gain. 

Raftopoulos says the active groups, between 30 to 60 on social media, claim to have links with SANParks and have gained concerning momentum, putting SANParks's image and its patrons at risk. 

“This practice constitutes infringement of SANParks registered trademarks which could result in litigation,” says Raftopoulos.

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She says the practice has also seen establishments of agents acting as travel agents, people creating mobile apps, publishers of literature, marketing apparel, domain names, crowdfunding agents and third party emergency contact numbers that mislead the public, some of which are for commercial purposes.

Although the park accepts donations and fundraising, it is important to note that fundraising can only be done officially through the SANParks website and the Honorary Rangers. 

SEE: #SaveOurRhino: SANPark's given R2.7m anti-poaching boost

SANParks urges that the impersonation on social media is undertaken without SANParks permission or for the benefit of the national parks.

“It is for this reason that SANParks would like to make the public aware, and more importantly inform those behind these platforms, that there are legal implications whereby SANParks may institute legal proceedings, should people continue using its name or national parks under its management unlawfully,” adds SANParks. 

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