Beware of credit card fraudsters

The latest trend in bank frauds is on the rise: more and more people suffer from credit card fraudsters posing as bank officials. All they need is your one-time-password (OTP).

According to Reana Steyn, the Ombudsman for Banking Services, credit card fraud has been rapidly outpacing all other forms of bank fraud.

“Not long ago credit card fraud was number five in our list of complaint categories, and now it’s number two, comprising 19,45% of all complaints,” Steyn claimed. “That’s up from about 12% in December. At this rate it will soon overtake internet banking fraud to occupy the top spot.”

She emphasised that in the past three months 58% of the bank clients who complained about falling victim to credit card fraud were older than 61 and 11% were older than 80.

Here is how the scam goes. The fraudsters usually get hold of the credit card number in advance and choose what they’d like to buy with the victim’s money on Takealot or Foschini shopping websites. Then they phone bank clients claiming they are calling from the bank and sweet-talk them into reading out the OTP which has been sent to them via SMS. Once the victim does that, the shopping begins. The sad irony is that they convince them by explaining that this information would help the bank prevent them from falling victim to fraud.

Another way is to promise extra bank loyalty rewards points if they answer a few questions. During the survey, the fraudsters ask for the OTP.

In one case, a fraudster asked a woman if she would like to convert her bank rewards points into cash. She read out her OTP hoping to benefit from that offer. After she got several similar calls on the same day, she decided to check what was going on by phoning her bank that confirmed that she had been defrauded of R11,200.

As Steyn claims, the fraudsters apply more sophisticated tactics to defraud and rob customers of their hard-earned money and savings. So here are a few useful tips for credit card owners:

  • Never share personal and confidential information over the phone;
  • Never give your OTP to anybody;
  • Contact your bank immediately if you receive OTP without making any transactions, your information may have been compromised.

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