Credit card fraud declines


Cape Town – Credit card fraud has dropped by 15% in South Africa over the past year, but consumers still do not protect their PIN code, research has showed.

Columinate, an independent research company, was commissioned by FNB and Visa to research fraud awareness and card fraud trends in South Africa.

“We found that while the overall awareness of card fraud is very high, 42% of South Africans still admit that their PINs are not kept secret and that they share their PINs [mostly with their spouses, 85%],” said Athaly Khan, head of fraud at FNB Credit Card. “These numbers are higher than in 2013 when 38% shared their PINs.”

Compared to 2013, significantly more consumers are using their hands as a shield while keying in their PINs at an ATM [67%, up from 59%], yet 20% admit that they use the same PIN for numerous cards. From FNB’s perspective, PIN security, online scams and cloning of cards are the biggest threats to card security in 2014.     

SMS notification success

“In terms of card security awareness, 93% of individuals surveyed pay careful attention to their SMS notifications when making transactions, which points to the importance of such notifications,” said Bryce Thorrold, head of risk services for Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

The three forms of credit card fraud which have reduced the most in the last 12 months were: international counterfeit fraud, stolen credit card fraud and international card not present fraud. Local card not present fraud, counterfeit fraud and false application fraud have increased.

The 3 most common forms of credit card fraud were: card number being used fraudulently, counterfeit card fraud, and stolen card fraud.


Careless behaviour

“Higher income earning consumers, earning over R350 000 per annum, show the most careless card behaviour. Our past communication drives have shown improved consumer vigilance amongst middle and lower income customers,” said Khan.

“With a substantial increase in online purchases, we are also raising the profile of card security online. Some 25% of the people surveyed transact online more than once a month,” said Khan. “By following a few simple steps customers can protect themselves from cyber fraud.”

“When customers enter their card details on a website, it is important that they check the site for HTTPS in the web address and to be registered for online security programmes such as Verified by Visa,” said Khan. “These services require an additional PIN that is sent to the customer’s mobile phone or email address before the transaction is processed.”


POS fraud decline

Point of Sale (POS) fraud has been declining steadily over the past year, but customers should remain extra vigilant when handing their card to someone else when paying in a store or at a fuel station where it may be skimmed and cloned.

FNB recorded very low fraud losses in relation to transaction volumes (less than 0.05%) at merchants during the period July 2013 to June 2014.

The bank continues to encourage the adoption of various fraud preventative measures with all our merchants. The introduction of Chip and PIN cards five years ago has also lead to the reduction of fraud particularly in retail environments such as restaurants and at service stations.

“As both cardholders and merchants demand quicker methods of payments, new channels are opening up, such as contactless payments at POS,” said Thorrold. “Ensuring payment security is one of Visa’s highest priorities and with any new payment technology we ensure that these products are as secure as traditional cards and meet all the same standards for security.”

“FNB is promoting greater card usage and cashless banking with its no-charge per transaction pricing, as cards are a safe and convenient alternative to cash,” said Khan. “At the same time, we are actively taking steps to inform our customers about simple security precautions to prevent card fraud.”

To protect yourself from potential credit card fraud:

- Always treat your card and PIN as you would cash
- Never let anyone see your PIN
- If you suspect that someone has seen your PIN change it immediately online or at an ATM

Tips to ensure safe and secure online shopping:

- Be on the lookout for phishing emails
- Only make use of secure reputable websites
- Don’t use weak (easy to guess) passwords
- Run regular anti-virus software on all your digital devices

* FNB has a dedicated fraud department. The FNB Fraud Prevention Hotline is contactable on 0800 110 132. In addition, Visa customers can obtain 24-hour assistance at its Global Customer Care Assistance line at 0800 990 475.

- Fin24.

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