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    Financial Services
    22 December 2021

    Wanita Nicol

    5 Ways To Avoid Credit Card Fraud This Holiday Season

    Whether you’re shopping for gifts, travelling, or relaxing at home, use these expert tips to avoid falling prey to credit card fraud.  

    According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) annual crime stats for 2020, credit card fraud decreased by 7% for South African banks. But opportunistic scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Trish Ramdhani, head of fraud at FNB Card. “Fraudsters feel this is a time of fear, confusion, distraction, disruption and uncertainty, and they’re capitalising on this,” she says. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep your wits about you. 

    1. Protect your personal information 

    “We’ve seen an increase in card-not-present fraud attributable to phishing scams – where criminals defraud customers into compromising their card and PIN details,” says Ramdhani. 

    Stay safe: Don’t respond to texts, phone calls, or emails that ask you to verify your credit card by typing in your account details or password. “Scammers often pretend to be someone you may trust, like a banking official, insurance agent or even a job provider. They may try to persuade you to reveal sensitive information, such as your login credentials, or one-time PIN (OTP) used to approve financial transactions. Don’t give out any card details, email addresses and other personal details to unknown people,” warns Ramdhani. 

    2. Keep an eye on your card 

    A credit card fraud scammer can copy your details very quickly, given the opportunity. 

    Stay safe:  “Never let your card out of your sight when transacting at a retailer or store”, Ramdhani adds. “Ensure you always get your own card back after transacting at an ATM or store. And when you make card withdrawals at ATMS, never accept help from strangers.” 

    3. Watch out for online credit card fraud red flags 

    The pandemic has forced many of us to bank and shop online for the first time – but even seasoned online users should always be on the lookout for new credit card fraud scams. 

    Stay safe: If you’re doing online banking, make sure you login to your bank’s official website, cautions Ramdhani. “When on the web, never access the site by clicking on links or attachments. Once you’ve logged into a fraudulent website, the fraudsters have your credentials and access to your accounts.” Always type out the official website URL and check for the ‘lock’ symbol and https// before the URL.  

    4. Embrace technology 

    The easiest way to avoid falling prey to credit card fraud is not allowing fraudsters to get their hands on your card details in the first place. 

    Stay safe with these digital innovations: 

    • Tap to pay. Setting this up on your smartwatch or phone lets you transact without having to produce your credit card. It also gives you more layers of protection. “We’re seeing a growing number of customers who prefer to use contactless payments without having to hand over their card,” says Ramdhani. 

    • E-Wallets. This is a stash of money you can set up on payment services like VodaPay. You have an additional layer of protection, plus you’re not accessing your credit card directly. Be sure you understand the T&Cs though – you may be charged for withdrawing funds from your e-wallet or it may not be possible at all. 

    • Virtual card. Check if your bank offers this service for online transactions. It has a dynamic CVV number, which changes every hour. “At FNB, we strongly recommend that customers use the virtual card for online purchases,” says Ramdhani. 

    • Banking apps. Transacting via your bank’s app means you don’t need to login to a website, so you don’t risk entering your details into a fraudulent site. 

    • Multifactor authentication. Enable security features like OTP, fingerprint and facial recognition to make it harder for fraudsters to transact on your behalf. 

    5. Act fast 

    Unfortunately, even if you’re cautious, a sneaky fraudster might get the better of you. Act fast to minimise the amount of damage they can do. 

    Stay safe: Ramdhani says if you suspect credit card fraud on your account, report it and cancel your cards immediately on the banking app or through your bank’s fraud call centre. If your phone is stolen, report this too so the bank can de-link your app. 

    Why not use VodaPay? No matter your mobile network, you can now send, spend and pay using VodaPay. Download VodaPay from your app store today to see what all the buzz and excitement is about.

    Wanita Nicol