Card Fraud: How to stay safe

By Staff Writer
The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) on behalf of the banking industry has voiced its concern about the increase in card fraud from January to September 2014.
The South African banking industry's gross fraud losses due to local issued credit card fraud increased by 23% from R366m in 2013 to R453.9m in 2014.
 
Shopping online
 
According to Mastercard, South African's are more comfortable withshopping online, than ever before.
 
The 2014 MasterCard Online Shopping Behaviour Study revealed that 69% of respondents had made at least one purchase online in the last three months, and that 87% of those said that they were very happy with their experience.
 
However, security is still very important when shopping online.
 
"The study also revealed that 90% of respondents cited the availability of secure payment facilities as critical when shopping online. Just as you protect your wallet with your payment cards and personal information when you're in the shops – you should do the same when you're shopping online," said Mastercard.
 
Credit card fraud
 
Credit card fraud is most prevalent in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal as they collectively accounted for 88% of all credit card fraud losses in South Africa. These provinces also recorded the highest number of skimming devices retrieved.
 
Skimming device is a device attached to an ATM, which reads cardholders details when they withdraw money.
 
"From 2005 to September 2014 a total of 1 377 handheld skimming devices were recovered by either the SA Police Service or bank investigators, with 74 of these seized between January and September 2014," said SABRIC.
 
More than half (55%) of the credit card fraud loss occurred in Gauteng. The losses increase by 49% from R63.5m in 2013 to R94.7m in 2014.
 
22% Of the gross credit card fraud loss occurred in the Western Cape and the loss increased by 47% from R26.2m in 2013 to R38.6m in 2014.
 
Kwa Zulu-Natal accounts for 9% of the gross fraud loss and increased from R13.5m in 2013 to R15.9 m in 2014 which accounts to 18% increase in the losses.
 
Be cautious
 
"There is a level of risk involved in any transaction, whether carrying cash after an ATM withdrawal or shopping in a store and running the risk of shoulder surfing. That being said, safety precautions are easy to apply irrespective of whether you shop in store or online," said Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB credit card.
 
SABRIC warns that card users should be cautious of strangers offering help as they could be trying to use distraction tactics to get hold ofs card or PIN numbers. They also advise users to keep transaction slips and check them against statements to spot any suspicious transactions which must be queried with the bank immediately.
 
"If your card is retained, do not leave the ATM before you have cancelled your card by calling your Bank's call centre using your own mobile phone," said SABRIC.
When shopping online, know who you're buying from. Mastercard advises shoppers to should learn as much as they can about the seller before they make purchases from them.
 
"It's not difficult to set up a shop on the Web. If you are unfamiliar with the retailer, it is wise to do an online search to check recommendations and feedback from other customers to gauge their reputation. Check the company's refund and returns policies, which should be available on the company's website, before you place your order," said Mastercard.
 
As with shopping with your card, always guard your privacy. "Do not disclose personal information unless you know who is receiving it, why they need it, and how they'll use it," said Mastercard.
 
For example, rather use your work contact details than your home information as less scrupulous retailers sell their customer information to third parties. This will protect your privacy and your security at home.
 
"Most reputable online shops require you to register with them with a username and password before you place an order. When selecting a password, avoid using commonly-known or easily-guessed information such as your birth date, surname or pet's name, and don't use the same password that you use for other sites," said Mastercard.

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