How to avoid online fraud

How to avoid online fraud

Last updated on 21st January, 2019 at 08:45 am

With a few simple clicks or the swipe of a bank card, we can buy most things. But this can also leave us vulnerable to scams and fraud.

Is fraud a big problem in South Africa?

Yes, it is. According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), credit card fraud increased by 13% from R331.4-million in 2015 to R374.4-million in 2016. Fraud on SA-issued debit cards increased by 3.1%, from R333.2-million in 2015 to R343.5-million in 2016.

Is fraud more prevalent in certain provinces?

Card fraud is a global phenomenon. However, SA provinces mostly affected by card fraud are Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. These are followed by the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the North West.

What is a CNP transaction?

Card-not-present (CNP) fraud remained the biggest contributor to gross fraud losses on SA-issued credit cards (66.8%) in 2016. CNP transactions are defined as transactions that occur when the cardholder does not present the card for a merchant’s visual examination when the order is given and payment is made. Fraudsters typically make these transactions online.

What is counterfeit fraud?

Fraudsters have the technology to copy or skim your card. Counterfeiting or ‘skimming’ a credit card involves criminally copying the magnetic strip on a legitimate credit or debit card through a small handheld device or ‘skimmer’. This captured data is then used to make fake payments. This type of fraud accounts for 26.4% of the gross fraud losses on credit cards.

How can I shop safely online?

The Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman said it received complaints against online suppliers where consumers paid for goods that were never delivered and it was subsequently found that the company had been liquidated. The CGSO advises that you should only make use of trusted and familiar online suppliers when buying items online.

Google yourself!

These days, with social media, we sometimes inadvertently share important information about ourselves that could be used by fraudsters. So, Google yourself to see if there’s anything personal online that may make you a target, and keep updating and using the security and privacy tools on your social networking platforms and mobile apps.

What online scams should I know about?

According to Scam Watch, these are some of the main online scams to watch out for:

  • Phishing, whereby scammers try to gain access to your personal information. Never click on links or fill in any personal or password info on anything that looks suspicious – rather phone your bank, credit provider or the company it looks like the email or SMS is from to check if the message is legitimate.
  • Online shopping scams. Always check the URL of a site before purchasing from it – does it look official and can you see the little lock symbol in front of the web address?
  • Dating and romance: beware of people pretending to be someone else, often in order to gain your trust and a route into your pocket.
  • Fake charities, investments and competition wins. Never respond to offers to invest or claim a prize from anyone you don’t know. Be cautious – it’s always safer to call a company’s official call centre to ratify a request for your personal info before providing this, especially if you’ve received a request via email, social media, WhatsApp or SMS.

 What can I do if I think I’ve been the victim of fraud?

  1. Contact the relevant institution affected by any personal information that may have been shared, for example your bank if you feel your credit card has been compromised. The sooner you report a concern, the more likely they an close down cards or accounts, or flag your ID or passport, to stop criminals using them. You’re also more likely to be insured for loss, such as money from your account, if you report a concern to your bank straight away.
  2. Report it to the police and close any accounts related to the security breach.
  3. Warn friends and family, in case a scam has given a criminal access to your network.

If you’re ever concerned about a request for your personal information made from communication that appears to come from Sanlam Reality, call our call centre to check it’s legitimate. Call 0860 732 548/9 if you are a Reality Core, Reality Plus or a Reality Health member. Call 0860 00 7325 if you are a Reality Club member.

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