Don’t become a victim of festive season fraud

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Spirits are high as we find ourselves in the middle of the festive season and preparing for New Year celebrations. Unfortunately this also creates a perfect opportunity for criminals to take advantage of consumers as we tend to become more relaxed when it comes to protecting our identity and money.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has embarked on a Festive Season Awareness Initiative to warn people in order for them to protect their hard-earned money.

The SABRIC urges that people who carry cash should always only have small amount of cash on them. Rather consider paying accounts electronically by either making use of cell phone banking, or internet transfers. The organisation also highlights that members of the public who are making use of ATMs should always be aware of their surroundings and should not make use of an ATM if there are loiterers or suspicious people in the vicinity.

SABRIC CEO, Nischal Mewalall, says that members of the public should be aware that fraudsters are often well dressed, well-spoken and respectable looking individuals. “If you are disturbed while transacting at the ATM, your card may possibly be skimmed by being removed and placed back into the ATM without your knowledge.

“Cancel the transaction immediately and report the incident using your bank’s Stop Card Toll free number, which is displayed on all ATMs, as well as on the back of your bank card,” says Mewalall.

SABRIC also advises that one should be careful once finishing a transaction at the ATM if a stranger requests that you return to the ATM to finalise any transaction as card skimming may occur during this request.

Mewalall adds that when it comes to to cybercrime, protect yourself against fraud by registering for additional security that sends a One Time Pin (OTP) to your phone when making a payment on an e-commerce site.

More tips from SABRIC:

  • Never force your card into the slot if you experience initial difficulty, as it might have been tampered with, and always cancel the transaction if this does take place.
  • Set a daily withdrawal limit that suits your needs to protect yourself if your card and PIN are compromised.
  • Check your balance regularly and report discrepancies to your bank immediately.
  • Watch out for spoof e-commerce sites advertising festive specials. Criminals only need to change one digit of a web address to create a spoof website and steal your personal or confidential information.
  • Be wary of unfamiliar e-commerce sites, especially if they do not redirect you to confirm your transaction via your banks 3D secure page or via your own banks mobile App before you pay.
  • Only shop at reputable retailers and avoid unknown ones, even if the offers seem really good.
  • When using your banking App, always log out manually once you have finished transacting and be sure to keep your daily EFT and ATM limits low to protect yourself in the event of fraud.

Pierce van Heerden

Pierce@mahareng.co.za