Beware of festive fraudsters

Photo for illustrative purposes. (Photo: Pixabay)

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), on behalf of the banking industry, is cautioning the public about bank crimes that could be prevalent this Festive Season.

“Criminals are always looking for opportunities to defraud their victims, particularly at this time of year when they know that people are winding down for the holidays, and spending their bonuses” says SABRIC CEO; Kalyani Pillay. SABRIC therefore urges bank customers to be aware of the latest crime trends so that they do not become victims.

Lost and stolen card fraud is still on the increase, and bank customers are urged not to accept any assistance while transacting at ATMs. By interrupting or interfering with a bank customer while transacting, cards are swopped, stolen or trapped in the ATM, only to be used later by the fraudster. PIN numbers are easily acquired by shoulder surfing, enabling the fraudster to utilise the card immediately. The public is therefore urged to prioritise the setting of daily withdrawal and transaction limits, according to their needs.

Also Read: ATM bombings – don’t think it can’t happen to you

Not only should customers be cautious when transacting at ATMs, but when online as well. Digital banking platforms have made transacting much more convenient, but have also created opportunities for criminals to defraud people.“Customers must be extremely vigilant when it comes to giving out personal and confidential information” says Pillay.Criminals can use this information to assume a person’s identity, creating opportunities for them to be impersonated.

Although this information does not guarantee them access to banking profiles or accounts, there is the risk that it could be used to commit fraud. Examples of personal information include identity documents, driver’s licenses, passports, addresses and contact details, whereas confidential information includes usernames, passwords and PIN numbers.In order to minimize the risk of having personal information stolen, bank customers are advised to take note of the following tips:

• Verify all requests for personal information and only provide it when there is a legitimate reason to do so.

• Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email.

• Don’t use any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN).

• Keep PIN numbers and passwords confidential.

• Don’t carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.

• When destroying personal information, either shred or burn it (do not tear or put it in a garbage or recycling bag).Always assume that any Wi-Fi network you are using, especially those in public areas, may be compromised.

• Always assume that any Wi-Fi network you are using, especially those in public areas, may be compromised.

• Check to see if your router has any pending firmware updates by logging into the admin page and install any waiting updates.

• Don’t use internet cafes or unsecure terminals (hotels, conference centers etc.) to do your banking.

• Change your password regularly and never share these with anyone else.

• Store personal and financial documentation safely. Always lock these away.

• To prevent your ID being used to commit fraud if it is ever lost or stolen, alert the SA Fraud Prevention Service immediately on 0860 101 248 or at

• Ensure that you have a robust firewall and install antivirus software to prevent a computer virus sending out personal information from your computer.

• Ensure that apps you are using have end-to-end encryption.

• When using Wi-Fi, even if password protected, best to only connect to websites that use HTTPS encryption. Ensure that you are connected via HTTPS – your browser must show a little lock in the address bar which says “secure“.

• Make use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection, but ensure you get this from a reliable supplier.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites 

Randfontein Herald

Krugersdorp News 

Get It Joburg West Magazine

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Riaan van Zyl

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