How To Avoid Card Fraud This Season

With the festive season fast approaching, criminals are out in full force to try and get a quick buck. South African Banking Risk Information Centre’s (SABRIC), Kalyani Pillay, has urged people to be aware of card fraud and cloning.

According to the recent 2016 SABRIC report, there has been a 13% increase in credit card fraud and 3.1% increase in debit card fraud between 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The report highlighted three of the top crimes as card jamming, card swopping and shoulder surfing. We break down the details and provide advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.

Card Fraud In South Africa

Pillay explained that there has been a steady increase of card fraud in South Africa over the past year. Each year, the methods used by criminals become more advanced. This is making it harder to catch and trace criminals.

“Criminals will always be on the lookout for gaps and weaknesses in order to defraud victims. Fortunately, SABRIC’s collaborative model, as well as the robust risk mitigation measures deployed by its members, position the industry perfectly to tackle card fraud,” explains Pillay.

According to the report, card fraud is more prevalent in Gauteng, Western Cape and the Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Banks have increased security measures and all new bank cards are equipped with a unique chip. This ‘Chip and Pin’ technology has curbed counterfeit debit card fraud by 35%, however credit card fraud remained the same at 26.4%.

Although there has been a significant decrease in fraud since the chip, stolen cards have increased. This has been criminals’ alternatives and it has proven to be successful.

Criminals will stand behind ATM users and watch them put in their pin number. Thereafter, they will distract them and take the card. This method has accounted for 56.2% of all card frauds in 2016.

Types Of Card Fraud To Be Aware Of 

Criminals nowadays are finding new and improved methods when committing card fraud. Here are some of the fraud techniques that you should be aware of these holidays:

Card-Not-Present(CNP ) Fraud

This is currently one of the most common forms of card fraud in the world, with online shopping being so big.

According to the report,”industry statistics indicate that credit card related Card Not Present (CNP) fraud increased by 18, 9% from the previous year and accounts for 66.8% of the losses relating to SA issued credit cards. CNP debit card fraud increased by 4.6% which can be attributed to a wider acceptance of debit cards by online vendors.”

This form of fraud takes place when criminals are able to gain access to card and user details online. This could be as a result of lack of security measures and unsafe websites.

Card Swopping

This is the simple act of a criminal distracting an ATM user and then gaining access to their card and details. According to an article by the Huffington Post, “they may do this by offering help while customers are doing their transactions, or they may change the language on the screen prior — so an unsuspecting customer asks for help.”

Another technique that criminals use is known as ‘shoulder surfing’. This is when the criminal peers over the shoulder of the ATM user while they are making a transaction. They take note of the user’s details and passwords and then use this when they swop the cards.


Phishing is also recognised as a cyber crime as criminals pose as registered institutions seeking personal details online.

Many people fall victim to these criminals too easily as they give out personal details, like bank account numbers and cell phone numbers, without question.

Another reason why people fall victim to these crimes is because they don’t constantly change their pins and passwords. Many tend to make the same password for different accounts and cards.

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Don’t Be A Victim- Tips And Tricks

Pillay and the SABRIC team have outlined the important things to remember. Take a look at some of the tips to help prevent you from falling victim to these crimes:

  • If an ATM looks like it has been tampered with, or it looks different to the normal layout- don’t use it, it might be criminals preying on you;
  • Make sure you can see your cards at all times if you pay for something. Also, don’t allow your card to be scanned on any unfamiliar black devices;
  • Don’t disclose your information via email or phone ever;
  • Ensure that all your bank cards are registered with 3D Secure- this is a strong authentication program;
  • Don’t do any internet banking while you are in public areas;
  • Try and place transaction limits on your accounts in case your cards are stolen.

If you are a victim of card fraud, report it to your bank immediately!


Read More about insurance scams that you need to look out for below


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