Top three fraud scams to take note of

(File, iStock)
(File, iStock)

Cape Town - Fraudsters are capitalising on consumers with a more relaxed attitude, warns Kevin Hogan, fraud risk manager at Investec Private Banking.

To prevent becoming a victim of fraud, be aware of these three scams, he suggests:

ATM fraud

ATMs are perfect targets for fraudsters. They distract you while you are entering your PIN and then take your card. Fraudsters do this so quickly that you might not even know that you do not have your card anymore.

Fraudsters can also switch the ATM screen to the voucher PIN screen (used to withdraw with a card). They then dupe you into entering your PIN that will display in clear text they can see.

Another way is card skimming, where they place an additional card reader over the ATM's card reader. Through a hidden camera, they get access to your card details and PIN. Make sure you cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.

Top Tips:

- Only use ATMs at bank branches;

- Never save or write down your card details anywhere;

- Look out for any skimming devices and never use a visibly altered ATM;

- Never accept assistance from anybody at an ATM and look out for suspicious behaviour;

- If an ATM retains your card, contact your bank immediately to cancel it. Don’t walk away until you do;

- Keep your PIN safe and never use the same PIN for numerous cards;

- Never disclose a PIN to any third party.

Remember, if you are enjoying lunch at a restaurant or indulging in some retail therapy, insist that transactions are processed in front of you – never let your card out of your sight.

Pay attention to transaction notifications. If you receive a notification of any transaction you are not aware of or suspect fraudulent activity, contact your bank immediately.

Change of bank details

This type of fraud is becoming more prolific. In essence, fraudsters hack into the e-mail account of an individual or business and assume their identity.

They then send correspondence appearing official (letter or e-mail on a letterhead), informing their targets of a "change" to their banking details. The new bank account is under their control. If their targets transfer any funds into this fraudulent account, in an attempt to pay the legitimate third party, the fraudster will withdraw it and disappear.

For this reason, it is important to take the time to verify bank details before transferring funds – phone the business or the depositing bank directly and be careful of any accounts that have been open for less than three months. Be wary of confirmation e-mails as these are often the work of fraudsters.

If you think that you are a victim of a scam, call your bank immediately.

Holiday reservations

If you are planning a holiday, rather make your reservation through a reputable travel agency or website. Classified advertisements and bulletin boards can be riddled with fraudsters posing as a booking agent or advertising non-existent accommodation.

Even if they send you an official invoice, the bank details could be fraudulent. So, take the time to check e-mail addresses and phone the individual or the depositing bank.

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