Consumers urged to beware of ATM scams over festive season
Cape Town - With rampant ATM fraud expected over the festive season, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has warned consumers to be extra vigilant when it comes to taking care of their money.
SABRIC CEO Nischal Mewalall said criminals were keenly aware that consumers were in a relaxed mode over the season, which could create opportunities to defraud them.
"People are still being followed once they have withdrawn at the ATMs and criminals know that people have received bonuses, or got paid wages and that they will make cash withdrawals.
“We would like consumers to be extra vigilant when withdrawing money as criminals lurk at ATMs to identify potential victims and follow them up to residences, places of work or any other location where it is easy to rob them," he said.
Mewalall said this also applied to stokvel payments and warned consumers to be aware of their surroundings or make use of safer, digital facilities offered by their banks.
He said criminals were also using manipulation to defraud people as it was becoming more difficult for them to use technology to infiltrate digital systems and steal money due to robust risk mitigation systems deployed by banks.
"These social engineering tactics can also occur at ATMs so we urge consumers to not accept help from anyone even if they appear official," he said.
Ombudsman for Banking Services Reana Steyn said while a lot of care was taken to decrease fraud and raise awareness, the reality was that a lot of South Africans would become victims of fraud.
"During this period, fraud is likely to occur when transacting online or with bank cards at the ATM and other point of sale devices. Consumers will also receive calls from criminals pretending to be representatives from their bank.
“Even though the caller may know your identity number, name, and card number, consumers are urged to never disclose any confidential information such as the CVV number on the back of their cards or the one-time pin (OTP) sent to their phones by the bank. It is very important to remember that the bank will never ask you for your access code, password and PIN over the phone or via email links,” Steyn said.
International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI) Western Cape president Christo Snyman said consumers should also be wary of holiday scams and fake travel agencies and rather make use of reputable service providers.