Scamsters lie, smish and phish

2012-11-09 00:00

POLICE have warned Richards Bay residents to be cautious of card skimmers, scammers and fraudsters during the festive season.

Area police spokesperson Captain Debbie Ferreira said that during the festive period, when most working South Africans received bonuses and took a seasonal break, the risk of being ripped off increased.

She said police were working closely with the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) and would undertake regular patrols of all the city’s major shopping malls during the festive season. A satellite police station was expected to be set up near the entrance of the Boardwalk Inkwazi Mall.

Sabric, established in 2002 by the Banking Association of South Africa to combat organised financial crimes, is funded by players in the country’s financial sector.

“Criminals take advantage of people being relaxed,” Ferreira said.

“There are a number of ways consumers can have money withdrawn from their bank accounts without their knowledge.

“The most commonly known is card skimming. Criminals are able to copy information on the black strip of your bank card and use that information to steal money from the victims’ accounts.

“A skimming device can either be hand-held or mounted on ATMs.”

Ferreira said members of the public must not lose sight of their cards or accept assistance at ATMs.

She said consumers fell victim to three types of scams: “smishing”, an SMS claiming you have won money; phishing, an e-mail that purports to be from a bank and requests clients to change their details online; and advertisement scams.

“If the deal sounds too good, be very wary. Make sure you know who you are dealing with and don’t just pay the full purchase price of an item without seeing it,” said Ferreira.

The police station, in collaboration with Sabric, will host an awareness campaign on November 21 at entrance 4 of the Boardwalk Inkwazi between 10 am and 3 pm.

• The military yesterday warned that fraudsters were selling job seekers empty promises of reintegration in the SA National Defence Force. Sapa quoted spokesperson Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga as urging people to report the culprits to the nearest police station, saying they were active in KZN.

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