With the increasing hardships of life in Zimbabwe, people are finding unscrupulous ways of surviving. There are also many criminals who have been given amnesty in prisons or have returned home from the diaspora where they made a living through card fraud.
Since card fraud was rare in Zimbabwe, many people are being caught unaware. One can never be too careful or feel that they are not prone to such fraudulent activities.
Perpetrators use a variety of Card Fraud methods and keep changing their approach to trick their victims. The most common Card Fraud types at present include Counterfeit Card Fraud, Lost and Stolen Card Fraud, False Application Fraud and Card Not Present Fraud. Card Fraud is difficult for the banking industry because perpetrators prey on the vulnerabilities of bank customers and do not target banking systems.
Counterfeit Card Fraud
Counterfeit Card Fraud involves illegally manufactured cards that use personal information stolen from the magnetic strip of a genuinely issued card. In other cases, lost and stolen cards or old cards are encoded with the new information that was stolen from a genuine card for purposes of committing Counterfeit Card Fraud. Perpetrators usually use card skimming devices to steal the information needed for Counterfeit Card Fraud.
Card Not Present Fraud
Card Not Present (CNP) Fraud refers to a fraudulent transaction where neither the card nor the card holder is present at the point of sale. CNP transactions can be conducted when orders for goods, travel or accommodation are placed telephonically, by internet, mail order or fax.
Lost Card Fraud
Lost Card Fraud refers to fraudulent transactions conducted on a valid issued debit or credit card after the card holder has lost his or her card.
Stolen Cards Fraud
Stolen Card Fraud refers to fraudulent transactions performed on a validly issued debit or credit card that was stolen from a legitimate owner.
False Application Fraud
False application Fraud occurs when fraudulent transactions are conducted on an account where the card was acquired by falsifying a card application. Since the introduction of legislation such as FICA and the NCA, banks have become more rigorous in application verification procedures and False Application Fraud has declined by over 90% from the 2007/2008 high.
Account Take Over Fraud
Account Takeover Fraud occurs when a perpetrator poses as the legitimate account holder and takes over someone’s account and then uses the account for their own benefit. Access to personal information is used by perpetrators to pose as their victims for both Account Takeover Fraud and False Application Fraud.
Not Received Issued Card Fraud
Not Received Issued Cards Fraud relates to validly issued credit and debit cards that are intercepted before they reach the authentic customers and used for fraudulent transactions.
Plastic card fraud involves the compromise of any personal information from credit, debit or store cards.
The personal information stolen from a card, or the theft of a card itself, can be used to commit fraud.
Fraudsters might use the information to purchase goods in your name or obtain unauthorised funds from an account.
Plastic card fraud can also include ‘card not present’ fraud, such as the use of a card online, over the phone or by mail order, and counterfeit card fraud.
Protect yourself against plastic card fraud
Keep all your cards and financial details safe:
- look after your cards and card details at all times. Try not to let your card out of your sight when making a transaction.
- Shred or burn bank statements, receipts and financial information when disposing of them.
- Never let another person use your card and do not leave your card or your card details lying around.
- Report any suspicious behaviour by the person to whom you have handed your card when making payments immediately to your Bank.
- Never accept help from anyone at an ATM, even people who appear to be bank staff or security.
- Be familiar with your ATM construction, this way you will notice any foreign objects attached to it.
- Never use an ATM that is tampered with or visibly damaged. This could be a trick to get you to use another ATM in close proximity where a device is mounted.
- Suspicious foreign objects or people loitering around ATMs should be reported to your bank immediately.
- Avoid making online payments and if you need to make any online payments, NEVER MAKE THEN OVER PUBLIC WIFI OR PUBLIC INTERNET CAFE’S.
- check receipts against statements carefully. Contact your card company immediately if you find an unfamiliar transaction
- store your statements, receipts and financial documents safely and destroy them, preferably using a shredder, when you dispose of them.
- sign any new cards as soon as they arrive
- cut expired cards through the magnetic strip and chip when replacement cards arrive.
- Don’t send emails with your card details such as your card number and expiry dates.
- Make use of the card security products offered when transacting with online merchants.
- Ensure you only place orders with your card on a reputable and secure website when shopping online.
Secure your PIN:
- MEORISE YOUR PIN and destroy any paper notification as soon as you receive it
- Ensure that YOU’RE THE ONLY PERSON that knows your PIN. Never write it down or record it. Your bank or the police will never phone you and ask you to disclose your PIN
- when entering your PIN, use your free hand and your body to shield the number from prying eyes or hidden cameras. If you think someone has seen your PIN or if you want to change it to something more memorable, you can change it at a cash machine (ATM) or by contacting your bank.
Take care when using cash machines:
- put your personal safety first. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, cancel the transaction and use a different machine
- if you spot anything unusual about the cash machine, or if there are signs of tampering, don’t use it. Report it to the bank concerned immediately
- be alert. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and go to another machine. Don’t accept help from seemingly well-meaning strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted
- once you’ve completed a transaction, put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine. If the cash machine doesn’t return your card, report its loss immediately to your card company. Destroy or preferably shred your cash machine receipt, mini-statement or balance enquiry when you dispose of them.
Contact your bank immediately if you think your card or personal information has been compromised.