Increase in credit card fraud means you must be vigilant
You are well advised to hang on to your credit card tightly this festive season, not only because of the implications of too much spending for your budget but also to guard against fraud.
Kalyani Pillay, the chief executive of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, says the banking industry’s losses as a result of South African-issued credit cards used fraudulently anywhere in the world increased by five percent, to R443 million, between July last year and June this year.
In June last year, credit card fraud had increased by 30 percent from the previous year.
“Most bank fraud losses with South African-issued credit cards occurred inside the country, and 89 percent of the losses occurred in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape,” Pillay says.
Pillay says, however, that overall losses due to card fraud occurring within South Africa decreased by six percent in the reporting period to June. She attributes the decrease to the impact of chip and PIN technology, as well as a higher awareness among consumers of card fraud.
Counterfeit card fraud – which increased by 22 percent this year, to R144 million – accounted for most of the banking industry’s losses to card fraud.
“You have to be aware of potential crime and not let your credit card out of your sight when you make a transaction. You also should not accept unsolicited assistance when you are making an ATM transaction.
“The skimming of credit cards via hand-held skimming devices remains the main modus operandi to obtain the information required to manufacture counterfeit cards,” Pillay says.
Card skimming refers to the use of a card reader to copy the encoded information on the magnetic strip of a legitimate card. The data are then used to create counterfeit credit cards.
She says losses due to fraudulent credit card transactions performed over the phone, by mail order or online increased by 45 percent in the year to June, while fraud committed using credit cards that did not reach the intended recipients increased by 35 percent.
Pillay says fraud as a result of criminals opening credit card accounts with fraudulent identity documents decreased by 54 percent. “The decrease in this type of fraud shows that the internal security systems of banks are proving a deterrent to criminals.”