Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 Mar 2010

FINANCE: 23% Of Credit Card Fraud in SA is with Foreign Issued Cards


Recent Gauteng Business News

South African retailers and tourist industry institutions are brushing up on anti-fraud measures ahead of an influx of half a million tourists to South Africa in just over two months.

“It is significant that last year 23% of credit card fraud losses in South Africa were with foreign issued cards, while fraud losses with SA issued cards declined six percent,” SureSwipe managing director, Paul Kent said quoting figures from the South African Banking Risk Information Centre.

“We want to ensure tourists have the best possible experience of South Africa and by training staff in outlets that use our credit card swipe machines we are trying to ensure that fraudsters will be deterred and that South Africans and tourists alike can shop, travel, buy and pay with confidence using their credit and cheque cards.”

SABRIC said credit card fraud losses increased five percent to R443m, for the period July 2008 to June 2009 (compared with the same period in 2007/08). They noted that counterfeit card fraud losses were up, with a 22% jump and that lost and stolen card fraud losses had decreased 34% to R100.2m.

Most fraud losses with South African issued credit cards in 2009 occurred inside the country, and Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape provinces experienced 89% of the losses.

Kent pointed out that the nature of the Soccer World Cup meant that there would be high numbers of tourists moving between different locations all at once. “It could mean that certain outlets especially at airports, hotels and some shopping malls could suddenly get a high influx of card-bearing tourists wanting to pay for meals, rooms, purchases or other commodities and so some outlets, if insufficiently trained, may let anti-fraud standards slip slightly in all the excitement.”

SureSwipe has started a major anti-fraud exercise among its clients nationwide, but especially in Gauteng and the Western Cape where tourist and sports fan pressure is expected to be highest and where most fraud was experienced last year. “We are not only retraining those clients who want it, but have issued anti-fraud booklets to all as well as anti-fraud stickers to those who have been through training to give extra comfort to those who use their stores or hotels and to deter criminals.”

Anxiety about crime has been a major concern expressed by foreigners either intent on travelling to South Africa for the Soccer World Cup or dissuaded from travelling because of their fears.

SureSwipe advises merchants to check:

  • Is the card valid
  • Is the magnetic stripe smooth and free of signs of tampering
  • Retain the card until the transaction is complete
  • Compare the cardholder's signature on the card to that on the sales voucher
  • Phone for authorisation if requested to do so by the point of sale device
  • Customers who request you to keep trying a lesser amount although it keeps getting declined sequential with only the last four digits changing
  • Customers who place a number of orders within a short space of time
  • Items that are purchased in unusual quantities and combinations and/or greatly exceed the average order value

. Tips for consumers:

  • Sign your card as soon as you receive it
  • Check bank account statements as soon as you receive them and immediately inform your bank of anything suspicious
  • Ensure that you get your card back after every purchase
  • Never write down your PIN or disclose it to anyone
  • Report lost and stolen cards immediately
  • Never let the card out of your sight.

SABRIC statistics note that:

- Counterfeit card fraud last year increased by 22% to R144m.

- Skimming of cards via hand held skimming devices remains the main modus operandi to obtain information to manufacture counterfeit cards.

- Fraud losses through credit card transactions performed through phone, mail order or online increased by 45% in 2009

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