Beware these banking scams and fraud tactics in South Africa

TymeBank says it uses world-class security systems and technology to protect its 2.5 million clients from criminal and fraudulent activity.

However, the bank says some of its customers are still at risk when falling prey to the tactics that criminals and fraudsters use to obtain banking details, card information or to rob cash from people.

Criminal and fraudulent activity targeting customers’ bank accounts generally appear to be on the increase over the festive season.

TymeBank CEO Tauriq Keraan said: “As a responsible business, we wish to proactively alert our customers that they need to be aware and take extra precautions when doing their banking over the festive season.

“TymeBank has every layer of protection possible to keep our clients’ bank accounts safe. And we also need customers to help us keep their money safe by being extra careful with their bank account details, logins and bank cards.”

“Criminals are smart, however, and are always looking for new ways to take advantage. Unfortunately, that sees them targeting customers using deceptive means. We all need to be vigilant, cautious and responsible at all times to avoid becoming a victim of criminals and fraudsters.”

Current trends

TymeBank said it works closely with the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) to keep customers aware of the latest crime and fraud tactics.

Here are some of the ways in which customers have become victims of criminals:

Phishing, smishing, vishing and social media phishing – are all tactics used by fraudsters to ultimately get a customer’s details and banking information to take money out of their account, one way or another.

Fraudsters use email, sms, phone calls or social media to trick people into sharing their banking details – either through links that look like they come from a bank, the promise of winning something or offering goods for a bargain price.

The customer believes they are handing over their details to either their bank or someone reputable, but in reality they are being scammed and before they know it, their money has been stolen from them.

A form of phishing, smishing, is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message. Smishing is becoming an emerging and growing threat in the world of online security.

Fraudsters gather information on customers from their social media accounts before they strike. They use fake profiles to befriend customers and manipulate information out of them. They may also set up fake accounts and pretend to be from a bank or a company you liaise with.

Other phishing tactics include fraudsters putting links in the comments section of popular social media platforms with wording to lure people in.

When people click on the link, they either download malware on to their computer or device, or are taken to a page where they are tricked into providing their bank details.

Protecting your details protects you from criminals

To protect themselves, customers should never give their details away to anyone via social media, sms, email or a voice call.

“If there is any uncertainty, call the bank straight away or visit one of our ambassadors at a Pick n Pay or Boxer store for advice. Remember that the bank will never ask you to reveal your Password/PIN/One Time Pin (OTP) in a conversation and certainly not via social media.

“If anyone contacts you via these platforms or in a phone call, ask for their contact details and verify them with the bank. Rather be safe than sorry,” said Keraan.

ATM safety

Beyond criminals robbing people forcefully at ATMs there are also a large amount of cases in which unsuspecting customers have their cards switched or cloned at ATMs. Customers are advised to immediately hit the “cancel” button if anyone approaches them while at an ATM.

Fraudsters are also known to try switch or steal cards before a customer even gets to draw money at the ATM. Typically, the customer is offered assistance, and then a fake card is substituted for the customer’s card while they are distracted.

The customers are distracted in such a way that their PIN is compromised and they are led to believe that their card has been “swallowed” by the ATM. While the customers wait for their card and PIN they receive notifications of funds being withdrawn at another ATM.

Beyond keeping one’s ATM card out of sight and not accepting any assistance from third parties while using an ATM, customers must report any issue or a lost or stolen card immediately so that the bank can ensure their account is safe.

SABRIC has a number of excellent safety tips which are available on their “Stay Safe” pages online at www.sabric.co.za and it is always a good idea to keep up to date.

In light of an significant expected increase in criminal and fraudulent activity with customers’ bank accounts, TymeBank has developed the following safety tips to assist customers to pro-actively be aware and safe.

TymeBank’s top 10 safety tips

1. Don’t carry lots of cash on you. There is very little you cannot do with a card and carrying cash just makes you a criminal target. Often, criminals are prepared to hurt or kill for cash so rather use your card for transactions.

2. Make use of Pick ‘n Pay and Boxer stores till points to withdraw only the cash you need. Cash withdrawals from TymeBank accounts at Pick ‘n Pay and Boxer are FREE, so rather do regular small withdrawals instead of one large one.

3. If anything goes wrong with your card or transaction while using an ATM, cancel your card with the bank and do not leave the ATM until you have done so. You can also do this on TymeBank app or at the TymeBank kiosks in Pick n Pay and Boxer stores.

4. Don’t keep PINs written on your bank card or in your wallet.

5. Social media is not the place to do financial transactions. Look for the bank’s legitimate social media accounts and don’t accept friend requests or messages via Facebook Messenger from people you don’t know.

6. Do not answer any questions about your account on social media as TymeBank does not use social media channels to for business purposes.

7. Don’t click on links from people you don’t know or on posts on social media platforms.

8. Customers have 3D secure on their cards which makes sure they are asked to enter an OTP online. However, if customers buy goods online from sites that are not secure or 3D secure enabled, customers enter their card number, CVV and expiry date and are left vulnerable to attack. Always check that a website is secure by looking for the padlock sign in the URL address bar.

9. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters lure you in with special one-time deals, and pressure you into making a poor decisions. If something is too cheap or too unbelievable, steer clear of it.

10. Don’t give your details out on the phone. If someone claims to be from your bank or a reputable company but starts asking for details like your PIN number for your card or your account or ID number, end the call. Your bank will NEVER ask you for your PIN number on a call. If you are not sure if the request is legitimate, contact your bank by calling the call centre number on the bank’s website..

11. If someone asks for a refund from you for goods or services, check with your bank that the deposit went into your account before you do so. Fraudsters use false proof of payment documents and can either take goods without really paying or request refunds on money they have not paid to you.

12. Always be cautious and always validate any requests when asked to provide your details and information. Contact the bank or an ambassador at an in-store kiosk if you are not sure what to do.

“One should always be cautious with your banking details and more so over peak times such as the festive season. While innocent customers are relaxing, the fraudsters are hard at work,” said Keraan.


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Beware these banking scams and fraud tactics in South Africa