Easter is a period where consumer spending increases which increases the opportunity or fraud. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN – Consumers should not let their guard down this Easter period. 

Whether you are planning a family getaway or a relaxing long weekend at home, fraudsters will stop at nothing to get your personal information and card data.

According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), credit card fraud increased by 1 percent to R436.7m in 2017. We believe that this trend has continued into 2018 and 2019.

Here are five electronic payment security risks to watch out for this Easter period according to Bevan Smith, Head of Risk at Visa Sub Saharan Africa:

Shoulder Surfing

Shoulder surfing essentially refers to the practice spying on an unsuspecting victim as they enter their pin on an ATM. Simple ways that you can safeguard against prying eyes includes hiding your pin, standing as close to the ATM as possible and never revealing your pin to anybody.

Credit Card Swapping

Card Swapping is a familiar scenario in South Africa. Usually the victim’s card will be stuck in an ATM, only to be rescued by a nearby ‘good’ Samaritan. This fraudster will assist by cancelling the transaction, and once the card is ejected, have the perfect opportunity to make the swop. At the same time the fraudster will shoulder surf for the pin code. 

Once again, preventative measures include the need to pay attention to your surroundings, don’t trust strangers that offer their assistance and report any unusual behaviours to your bank.

Cash usage places the consumer at risk

According to SABRIC, bank client cash losses for 2018 from January to June amounted to just over R21 million. Two predominant crimes were identified relating to this statistic; victims are followed out of a bank branch after a cash withdrawal has been made, and then incidences where they are followed after withdrawing money at an ATM.

Further education is key so that local consumers can understand the security benefits of electronic payments. 

Digital payments are also playing an ever more important role in offering consumers a safe and seamless way to pay. 

Card Skimming

Card skimming remains high up on the fraudster agenda within South Africa. Fraudsters use skimming devices to illegally collect data from the magnetic stripe of a credit or debit card. This chip uses ‘cryptogram’, which produces a one-time use code per transaction. 

Contactless or ‘tap and go’ technology is also another example of how electronic payments are evolving. Contactless cards experience among the lowest fraud rates of any type of payment. With contactless, the technology and control is placed in the hands of the consumer instead of the merchant, thereby reducing the opportunity for card skimming

Being aware of the vulnerabilities when transacting online

A ‘card not present’ transaction is quite simply a transaction where the cardholder does not present their card to the merchant, this could be online retail as an example. Users can be more vigilant by:

  1. Only surfing on validated websites, not giving your personal card details over the phone
  2. Not opening emails and attachments or clicking on links from people that you don’t know
  3. And even turn on transaction controls and alerts on your mobile banking app for your payment card(s) if your bank offers this capability.

Easter is a period where consumer spending increases which increases the opportunity or fraud. With the right knowledge and vigilance, consumers can protect themselves and combat fraud.

Bevan Smith, Head of Risk at Visa Sub Saharan Africa.