Discovery Bank issues fraud alert – scams to look out for in South Africa right now

 ·3 Apr 2024

Discovery Bank has warned South Africans that criminals are targeting customers at ATMs across the country – especially in shopping malls.

The bank issued a fraud alert to its customers last week, notifying them of the latest scams used by criminals and their targets.

The alert noted that the bank had flagged a spike in ATM fraud. Discovery explained that fraudsters are targeting ATMs to steal cards or card data.

The alert warned of two tactics used by these criminals:

  1. Card swapping: fraudsters “shoulder surf” you at the ATM to get your PIN and distract you while swapping your card with another. You leave with someone else’s card, and they draw what they can from your account or use it in-store.
  2. Card skimming: fraudsters tamper with ATMs to prevent you from inserting your card. They then offer to help before swapping your card or skimming it using a handheld device.

To help you avoid becoming a victim, Discovery Bank urged banking customers to:

  • Refuse help at the ATMs;
  • Investigate ATMs before using them; and
  • Protect your PIN always, and be aware of your surroundings before punching it into the machine.

Other scams to watch out for

Last month, Discovery Bank also warned consumers of other online scams to look out for – including fraudsters impersonating the banks, the “post office scam”, and “the loyalty programmes scam“.

The first scam involves criminals posing as banks and informing the victim of a fraudulent transaction. The victim is asked to provide their account details to reverse the transaction.

The second scam targets people waiting for a package at the South African Post Office. The fraudsters claim that a fee needs to be paid to clear the package for delivery.

The third scam is a new one and involves loyalty programme fraud.

According to the bank, there have been reports of scammers taking advantage of the popularity of loyalty programmes by sending fraudulent messages to customers.

These messages falsely claim that the customer’s loyalty programme points are on the verge of expiring, and to redeem them, they must follow a link provided in the message.

The bank advises customers to be cautious of such messages and verify their authenticity before taking action.

Read: Standard Bank CEO scores massive R83 million payday

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