The banking scams to watch out for over the holidays in South Africa

The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) has warned of an increase in scams over the festive season as this is traditionally a time when criminals try to take advantage of consumers

The OBS said it has received and investigated a lot of complaints from bank customers who have fallen victim to scams over the years.

“In instances where it is were able to find maladministration on the part of the banks, we were able to recover monies for aggrieved consumers,” said Reana Steyn, the Ombudsman.

Steyn said that 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,” said Steyn.

She warned that criminals are also ready to prey on innocent bargain hunters transacting at ATMs or online by stealing their bank cards, confidential banking details, as well as by offering fake deals on proxy websites or through unsafe internet connections.

Tips for consumers

If consumers do want to take advantage of festive season special offers, there are a few important safety tips that they can follow to protect themselves against potential harm:

  • Protect yourself online by inly using trusted websites;
  • Safeguard your devices. Keep your cell phones and laptop safe and discourage multiple users on your device;
  • Secure your networks. Set strong passwords and ensure that the sites you shop on are secure and are legitimate websites. The icon representing a padlock on the browser must be locked;
  • Avoid public WIFI connections and internet cafes for your online banking and purchasing. Rather use data to do emergency transactions;
  • Never ask a random stranger for assistance at the ATM and be wary of strangers asking you for help;
  • If the ATM is in a secluded area or it seems to be malfunctioning, rather go somewhere else to transact;
  • Ensure that you will be able to call your bank immediately in the case of an emergency. If you leave your cell phone at home, it will be too late to stop the withdrawal of the funds from your account.

Read: Here’s the average take-home pay in South Africa right now

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The banking scams to watch out for over the holidays in South Africa