ATM Card Fraud Plagues SA: Four Protective Measures To Avoid Being Swindled

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Latest Card Fraud Stats released by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), on behalf of the country’s banking industry revealed that South Africa is experiencing an overall increase in card fraud.

The ATM Card Fraud Stats for 2016 exposed that credit card fraud increased by 13% from R331.4m in 2015 to R374.4m in 2016. For the same period, debit card fraud increased by 3.1%.

Also, credit card related Card Not Present (CNP) fraud increased by 18. 9%. That, accounted for 66.8% of the losses relating to SA issued credit cards. Likewise, CNP debit card fraud climbed by 4.6%. SABRIC attributed that to a wider acceptance of debit cards by online vendors.

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However, Counterfeit debit card fraud dropped by 35% whereas, counterfeit credit card fraud remained stable, accounting for 26.4% of losses.

According to SABRIC, EMV compliance otherwise known as the ‘chip and pin’ technology, is the reason for the significant drop in counterfeit card fraud.

But then, it was pointed out that criminals circumvented the mitigation strategy by changing their behaviour to card jamming and swapping.

“This is the reason we have seen a 39.1% increase in Lost and/or Stolen debit card fraud which accounted for 56.2% of losses in 2016,” SABRIC stated.



As culled from the statistics, the most affected provinces were Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwa- Zulu Natal. These were followed by the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the North-West province.

Commenting, SABRIC CEO, Kalyani Pillay acknowledged that the increases and sophistication of tactics used by criminals are of great concern to the banking industry.

“Criminals will always be on the lookout for gaps and weaknesses in order to defraud victims. Fortunately, SABRIC’s collaborative model, as well as the robust risk mitigation measures deployed by its members, position the industry perfectly to tackle card fraud,” Pillay said.

Thereafter, he urged South Africans to be vigilant when transacting at ATM. “Be cautious of strangers offering to help as they could be trying to distract you in order to get your card or PIN.”

“Be cautious of strangers offering to help as they could be trying to distract you in order to get your card or PIN,” Pillay advised.

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Above all, SABRIC highlighted that South Africans should observe the following protective measures in order to avoid being swindled:

  1. If you are not familiar with the screen layout of the ATM or if it appears that the machine has been tampered with, do not insert your card.
  2. Do not allow anyone to swipe your card on a small black device unknown to you.
  3. Never send emails that contain card numbers and expiry dates, or disclose this information over the phone.
  4. Ensure that your bank cards are registered for 3D Secure – contact your bank for more information about 3D Secure registration.