In thew wake of the what is being reported as the largest data security breach in South Africa’s history, Capitec picks up on the main types of crimes consumers need to constantly be aware of – and also offers practical tips for consumers to protect themselves.
Earlier this week, a database containing the private data of millions of South Africans – including ID numbers, contact details, addresses, and income estimates – was exposed.
The name of the file containing the data was “masterdeeds”, suggesting it may have been obtained from the Deeds Office – the custodian of information about property owners in South Africa.
The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service’s Manie van Schalkwyk urged South Africans not to take the recent database leak lightly.
The database was recently revealed to include over 60 million identity numbers – more than double the 30 million identities originally thought to have leaked.
In light of the data breach, and as the world increasingly finds itself increasingly at the mercy of fraudsters – one in three people polled in an ACI Worldwide survey had fallen victim to card crime over the past five years – South Africans are earning themselves the dubious title of being one of the nations where risky behaviour is most prevalent, said Capitec.
According to the report, South Africans are some of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to leaving their phones unlocked when they’re not using them (28% of South Africans surveyed), throwing documents with account numbers in the bin (26%) and using a public computer without security software for banking online (18%).
Capitec Bank’s Francois Viviers said that while financial institutions have teams dedicated to protecting their clients against fraud, criminals move quickly and frequently invent new ways to defraud clients and corporates.
“The banking industry is very proactive in trying to put in place measures to help clients. However, clients are advised to do all they can to protect themselves against crime. Getting to know the types of crime they are at risk of and learning what risky behaviours to avoid, are good starting points.”
To help keep your money safe avoid becoming a victim, Capitec outlined the main types of crime and offers tips for consumers to protect themselves.
‘Card not present’ tips
CNP means neither you nor your card need to be present for fraudulent activity to occur, either online or telephonically.
If a criminal has your stolen card or even just your card details (for a successful CNP transaction the card number, expiry date and CVV number are required), then they can make unauthorised purchases using your account.
Top tips to avoid CNP and other types of card theft:
- Keep your card in sight when you are paying for items
- Memorise your PIN – don’t share it with anyone or write it down and carry it around with you
- Choose an unusual PIN – not 1111 or your birthday
- Lock your phone
- Don’t respond to competition SMSs or MMSs
- Check the URL of every site you visit – never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link. Rather type in the URL yourself
- Avoid doing Internet banking in public areas like Internet Cafés
- Ask your bank to set up your cellphone notification service
- Change your passwords regularly. Don’t have the same password for everything. Password managers are often used to help manage multiple passwords
- Don’t throw away papers or documents with your account numbers on them. Store them in a safe place or dispose of them in such a way that they are unreadable
- Get familiar with your bank’s online banking service and app. If anything looks different or the URL looks suspicious, do not log in and report it to the bank immediately
- Reduce your card limits via the app to the absolute minimum required value. You can always increase your temporary limit via the app for larger transactions
How it happens: The ACI report showed that 5% of South Africans responded to calls or emails asking for banking details in 2016. We’ve all received emails like this: Dear client, we have logged 2 or more login attempts for your account and have reason to suspect fraudulent activity.
You must click through to this link and follow the steps to ensure your account is secure. While some phishing emails are obvious, the more subtle, official-looking ones make most of us hesitate and consider clicking through.
Top tips to avoid being phished:
- Don’t open emails from senders you don’t recognise
- Be wary of emails that are not personalised, have spelling errors and a sense of urgency
- Don’t confirm any personal or financial information over the Internet
- Hover your mouse over any link to see where it is going to take you
- Never visit an e-commerce or banking site via a link in an email – rather type in the URL yourself
- Get reputable antivirus software and check your bank statements regularly for signs of fraud
- Report phishing attempts to your bank. Most banks provide an email address for their clients e.g. [email protected]
Vishing or telephonic phishing
How it happens: In July 2017, South Africans were warned against a vishing scam involving fake ‘employees’ from cellphone companies calling clients to confirm their details in order to block suspicious SIM swap requests.
Of course, the caller already had most of the client’s information via a phishing email, and was vishing to try and get the last confidential info necessary to make a SIM swap.
Top tips to avoid being vished:
- Never give out confidential information like your PIN or CVV code over the phone
- Be suspicious of unknown callers
- ID spoofing is becoming increasingly easy, so don’t automatically trust caller ID
- Google the phone number – legitimate numbers are usually linked to credible businesses
- If the caller claims to work for your bank, hang up and try calling back using the number provided on your bank’s website
How it happens: This is how a card fraud criminal (who made over R15,000 a day before being caught) describes his process: He goes to an ATM, pretends to draw cash, puts the machine into cardless mode and leaves his slip behind as he walks away.
His victim goes to the same ATM and puts in her PIN, which he watches and remembers. She struggles to get her card to work because the ATM is in cardless mode. The thief asks to reclaim his receipt, walks up to her and offers to help ‘fix’ the ATM.
He cancels cardless mode, asks the victim for her card and pretends to insert it. While her eyes are on the screen, he steals the card and conceals it with his wallet.
Top tips to avoid being an ATM scam victim:
- Be alert at all times – criminals choose people who look distracted
- Look out for anyone standing close to you
- Never accept assistance at an ATM unless it’s from someone who works there
- Don’t insert your card if the screen looks strange or unfamiliar
- If the ATM looks like it has been tampered with, stop what you’re doing and ask a staff member for assistance
- If your transaction is disturbed in any way, cancel it and report the incident immediately. Change your PIN or cancel the card. If you card is lost or stolen, cancel it immediately