Card fraud increases by 13 per cent

This is the view of Alfred Ramosedi, African Bank Sales and Marketing Executive.

His concerns are shared by The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) CEO, Kalyani Pillay, who said the ever-evolving sophistication of tactics used by criminals is worrying.

The latest card fraud statistics released by Sabric reflect a worrying overall increase in credit card fraud of 13 per cent for 2016.

Some of the key points to note are: The report said credit card fraud had increased from R331.4m in 2015 to R374.4m in 2016, with debit card fraud increasing by 3.1 per cent from R333,2m to R343,5m for the same period.

“As can been seen in the fraud related to ATM’s, the demand for cash is still high,” said Ramosedi.

“The report indicates that of the total fraud losses, 52 per cent of debit card fraud occurred at ATM’s in contrast to the three for credit cards.

“Card not present (CNP) fraud on credit cards increased by 18.9 per cent from the previous year and accounts for 66.8 per cent of the losses. CNP fraud on debit cards increased by 4.6 per cent.”

He said the most affected provinces were Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. These 3 provinces accounted for 85.9 per cent of all credit card gross fraud losses in South Africa.

  • Types of fraud

Ramosedi explained that there are different types of card fraud.

“Stolen-card fraud is pretty self-explanatory where criminals steal genuine bank cards together with the correct pin numbers and then use these cards immediately at the nearest ATM to withdraw cash followed by purchases at stores until the account is either empty or the card stopped.”

“Counterfeit-card fraud is slightly different in that a card is manufactured fraudulently and not genuinely issued by a bank. Criminals can do this by using compromised card data and the data is usually compromised through skimming.

“Finally with CNP fraud, the data is compromised in a variety of ways. Ramosedi says this can range from the actual physical theft of data off a genuine card to large scale data breaches usually carried out by syndicates.

Ramosedi said consumers can do much to mitigate the risk of the low tech physical theft.

He provides the following useful tips to protect their card data:

Tips for card holders:

  • Review your account statements on a regular and timely basis; query any suspicious or unfamiliar transactions with your bank immediately.
  • When shopping online, only place orders with your card on secure websites.
  • Ensure that you get your own card back after every purchase and always ask that the credit card machine is swiped in front of you. Also never allow anyone else to use your card.
  • Never write down your pin or disclose it to anyone and use different pins for different cards.
  • Report lost and stolen cards immediately to your bank.
  • Destroy your credit card receipts before discarding them.
  • Sign your card on the back signature panel as soon as you receive it to stop anyone else from taking ownership or trying to use it.
  • Always check transaction slips for correct purchase amounts before you sign them.
  • Keep your transaction slips and check them against your statement to spot any suspicious transactions and query them immediately.
  • Make a list of all your cards and their numbers and store it in a safe place.
  • While transacting always keep an eye on the ATM card slot to ensure that your card is not taken out, skimmed and replaced without your knowledge. Sabric also advise that if you are not familiar with the screen layout of the ATM or if it appears that the machine has been tampered with, do not insert your card.
  • Should an ATM retain your card, contact your bank and block your card before you leave the ATM.
  • Subscribe to your bank’s SMS notification services; this will inform you of any transactional activity on your account

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Riaan Engelbrecht

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