Online fraud affects us all

2012-03-17 08:27

A survey run by Visa and FNB showed that 50% of respondents were most concerned about falling prey to ATM fraud, followed by identity theft, while more than 65% of respondents said they felt safest when making a card payment in a store.

According to Bryce Thorrold, head of risk for Visa in Africa, this accurately reflects where fraud is concentrated. However, the trends are starting to change.

Thorrold says the implementation of chip and PIN cards has dramatically reduced the level of fraud at ATMs and merchants, but fraudsters are always looking for loopholes and Visa is finding a significant rise in card not present (CNP) fraud, where criminal syndicates copy your card information and use it for online purchases.

Visa has introduced Verified by Visa, which requires the cardholder to verify their information when making an online purchase.

Historically, Verified by Visa required the cardholder to enter a password. However, the banks are in the process of changing the systems so that rather than trying to remember yet another password, the bank will SMS a one-time password (OTP) to you to verify you are the cardholder.

However, this protection is fairly limited.

Firstly, it is not automatic and you have to ask your bank to set it up, and many customers are not aware of the service.

Secondly, it will only work on sites that have signed up with Verified by Visa, so fraudsters will go to sites that do not offer that service.

Thorrold says there is a national initiative across all the banks to introduce Verified by Visa to all cardholders and all local online merchants.

However, criminals can use your card information in any country that has not fully adopted Verified by Visa.

While Verified by Visa adds a layer of security, the best way to protect your money is to ensure your details are not compromised and to sign up for your bank’s SMS notification so you know immediately when a fraudulent transaction occurs.

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