Keep your bank card close this festive season

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Johannesburg - With the silly season around the corner, you may be relieved to know that overall bank card fraud has dropped by 28.6% from R353m in 2014 to R252m this year.

However, you should still exercise constant vigilance when using your bank card, particularly over the festive season, as the instances of card-not-present fraud have significantly increased.

SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) CEO Kalyani Pillay says the overall decrease is largely attributed to Sabric facilitating the sharing of information between banks, as well as the roll-out of chip and PIN technology for debit cards.

“Sabric provides the industry with a view of crime trends and facilitates a collective approach to the combat of card fraud. While card fraud is a national threat, the most affected provinces were Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”

Card-not-present fraud refers to instances where fraud is committed using the bank details on your card, including the three-digit verification number on the back of the card. This type of fraud increased by 12% from last year and now accounts for 75% of losses related to credit cards issued in South Africa.

With the increased roll-out of chip and PIN cards, criminals are now reverting to card jamming and swapping cards, accompanied by “shoulder surfing” for card pin numbers at ATMs.

Protect your bank card

. Register with your bank for real-time notifications of any transactions occurring on your account so that you can immediately identify fraudulent activity.

. If you use a credit or debit card to shop online, only provide your card information to reputable companies and for single purchases.

. Check that any online site you use is secure. This will be indicated by a picture of a padlock in the website address.

. Do not let your card out of your sight for any point of sale or other card-based purchase.

. Review your account statements regularly and immediately query any disputed transactions with your bank.

. Ensure that you get your own card back after every purchase.

. Never write down your PIN or disclose it to anyone.

. Report lost and stolen cards immediately.

. Destroy your credit card receipts before discarding them.

. Do not send emails that quote your card number and expiry date.

. Upgrade your cards to EMV (chip)-enabled cards – most point of sale devices in South Africa are EMV enabled, which will help protect you from card skimming.

. Sign the back of your card when you get it from the bank.

. Never assume an ATM or self-service terminal has retained your card. Always contact your bank to confirm the problem and ensure the card is blocked immediately. Do not wait until you get home or back to the office – a skimmed card can be replicated in minutes and used immediately.

. Do not believe hoaxes, for example, that entering your PIN backwards at an ATM will notify the police that you need assistance. These scams are designed to get you to divulge your PIN.

. Avoid using ATMs in secluded areas.

. If you feel unsafe at an ATM, return later or use another machine.

. Only enter your PIN when the ATM screen instructs you to.

. Stand close to the ATM and block the keypad with your hand.

. Never write your PIN on the card.

. Always check that you get your card back from the machine.

. Don’t count your cash at the ATM.


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