The Ombudsman for Banking Services has seen an alarming spike in credit card fraud since January this year, in particular aimed at clients over 60.
Banking Ombud Reana Steyn says the the number of credit card fraud complaints has risen from 12% to 19% in just three months.
If complaints continue to rise at this rate, credit card fraud may soon overtake internet banking fraud at the top of the case list.
According to the ombud, 58% of the bank clients who complained about falling victim to credit card fraud in the past three months were older than 61 and 11% older than 80.
Most of the fraudulent transactions are conducted via online shopping and clients with high credit limits are more vulnerable, Steyn explains.
Commonly, fraudsters call clients posing as banking officials who are trying to intercept attempted fraud.
In most cases, the criminals already have the consumer's credit card number and other details, making them appear more credible to their targets.
The fraudster claims to be a bank employee and asks the client for confirmation of their One Time Pin (OTP), supposedly to prevent fraud from happening.
It sounds all very credible. The consumer reads out this One Time Pin (OTP) and this is all the fraudster needs to proceed with the online transaction.— Reana Steyn - Ombudsman for Banking Services
In other scenarios, the fraudster poses as a banking official who wants to help the client claim supposed rewards and convert them into cash.
The fraudsters are very knowledgeable about the banks. They know the lingo and even the background noises are convincing. It's a sophisticated scheme.— Reana Steyn - Ombudsman for Banking Services
Meanwhile, consumer journalist Wendy Knowler has warned clients to never share personal and confidential information with strangers over the phone.
Banks will never ask you to confirm your confidential information over the phone. Don't ever disclose.— Reana Steyn - Ombudsman for Banking Services
Knowler urges consumers to immediately contact their bank once they notice any irregular banking activity.
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