Be careful of banking scams during lockdown - FSCA
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has warned that with the COVID-19 pandemic currently gripping the country and the world as a whole, South African consumers need to be even more aware about potential banking scams and possible fraudulent activities.
“The current pandemic and the associated financial concerns being experienced by so many South Africans might be seen as an opportunity by unscrupulous criminals who continually adjust their tactics to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers,” says Lyndwill Clarke, Head of Department: Consumer Education at the FSCA.
Together with guidelines recommending how people need to better manage their finances, the FSCA have also issued some warnings to the public.
Do not rush out and draw large amounts of cash. This might attract criminals to your home. Remember that banks will continue to operate in the lockdown, and ATM services are still available. Use your card to make purchases where possible.
Beware of persons acting as, or imitating government workers and representatives from financial institutions. These might be criminals in disguise trying to get access to your premises or to your financial accounts.
Beware of persons asking for your identity number and/or your bank and credit card details via e-mail, telephone, WhatsApp or text message. This is a cybercrime called PHISHING. Banks will not ask you to send your details to them.
Heed the medical advice provided by health specialists and the government BUT watch out for fake news. Some people might provide false information on government, financial and other regulations on various media platforms.
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Beware of scams! Watch out for scammers who try to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic. Scams can take on many forms. Be wary of offers to assist you to access your pension fund or high-return investment opportunities.
The Ombudsman for Banking Service received a total of 3785 formal cases of fraud in the first 7 months of last year alone, largely relating to phishing, card swapping, internet banking and ATM disputes. There is concern that the Covid-19 pandemic may well add to this existing problem in South Africa. “Being financially literate, and staying informed, goes a long way in mitigating the risks of these types of scams and bank fraud,” Clarke says.
Money Smart Week, an initiative of the FSCA along with other key stakeholders, was due to be held at the end of March but has been postponed until later in 2020. Look out for more details about this national campaign at aimed at motivating and empowering South Africans to become more educated about their finances. Go to www.mswsa.co.za for more details.