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‘Card Not Present’ - but accounts wiped clean

Always check your bank statement for suspicious transactions. Picture Leon Lestrade

Always check your bank statement for suspicious transactions. Picture Leon Lestrade

Published May 10, 2013


Johannesburg - His bank card was hidden deep in his closet. Yet somehow fraudsters still got his details and nearly wiped out his account from somewhere in the ether of the internet.

Nicholas Reeves of Killarney in Johannesburg is just one of the many people who have fallen victim to Card Not Present (CNP) fraud, which is now the most common form of card fraud, although the transaction never went through.

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CNP fraud happens when a criminal gains access to your card’s information and uses this information to make transactions in your name, or shifts money out of your account.

“CNP fraud on South African-issued credit cards has increased in recent years and in 2012 it was the largest fraud loss category,” said Susan Potgieter, the general manager of commercial crime at the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric).

“From October 2011 to September 2012, CNP fraud losses on South African-issued cards amounted to R154.8-million, a 16 percent increase from R133.4m (between) January and September 2011,” said Potgieter.

She said this type of fraud could be committed anywhere in the world.

In January, Reeves received an SMS saying there had been two transactions made on his “spare” account.

“Cardholder data could be compromised at any point where either the card itself is left unattended or when cardholder data is shared, process or stored during the payment process without taking adequate security measures,” said Potgieter.

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However, Reeves said he never used the card, did not remove it from his flat, where he lives alone and does not employ any staff, and had not shared the card details with anyone else.

He also does not know what the transactions were for as they went through PayPal, an online intermediary for purchases.

“The two transactions exactly reduced my bank balance to zero and didn’t go into the overdraft,” said Reeves.

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He cancelled the cards immediately and the transactions were reversed within three days.

What to do:

Sabric explains what to do to prevent falling victim to Card Not Present fraud:

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l Always check your bank statement for suspicious transactions. When disposing of bank statements – and any other receipts and financial information – you should shred or burn them.

l Never leave your card or your card details lying around and never let anyone else use your card.

l Never divulge your PIN to anyone.


l When shopping online, only place orders with your card on a secure website.

l Do not send e-mails that quote your card number, expiry date or any card details.

l Report any irregularities noticed on your bank statements to your bank immediately. - The Star

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