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don't let your plastic money out of sight

By unknown | Nov 26, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Already choked by debt, the 7,2million South African credit card holders are increasingly and unsuspectingly falling prey to the fraud that is gnawing this sector.

Significantly, as the festive season nears, the banking industry has issued warnings and guidelines on how to avoid falling prey to credit card fraud syndicates.

"We have put measures in place, together with the SAPS, that assist us in identifying counterfeit card fraud syndicates, including the detection and retrieving of skimming devices in the market," the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said.

According to Sabric, credit card fraud more than doubled from R420million in the past year to R1,03billion.

"It is a frightening picture, it really is," Sabric chief executive Kalyani Pillay said yesterday.

Gauteng alone accounted for more than 50percent of the total credit card fraud losses in the past financial year.

However, Sabric believes it may be stemming the tide of this crime after preventing credit card fraud valued at R573million in the past year.

"This increase - between 2005 and now - should be understood in the context of a huge roll-out of cards by South African banks into the market."

Pillay said: "As far back as 2006, there were in excess of 25,5million debit cards and 7,2million credit cards in South Africa. These figures are growing at a rapid rate annually, and so does the volume of money exchanged through card payments."

Sabric was established to detect, prevent and reduce organised crime in the banking industry. Its key stakeholders are the major banks. The company also provides crime risk information and management to the banking industry.

"The success of most bank card scams that we see doing the rounds in the country really depends on bank customers accepting the advances of the fraudsters," Pillay said.

"This is the reason for the banking industry to invest heavily in consumer education programmes and this campaign is no exception."


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