'Tis the season of swindlers

Madoda Milazi

Madoda Milazi

It is the season to be jolly - but watch out for criminals while you are at it as they too want to get in on the action.

According to the South African Savings Institute, South Africans spent more than R10billion during the festive season last year - and that is tempting to any fraudster.

Credit card fraud is said to be by far the most prevalent type of fraud in South Africa.

Kalyani Pillay, chief executive of SABRIC, said fraud was increasing due to the huge roll-out of credit cards by the banking industry.

"The success of most bank card scams really depend on the response of bank customers to the advances of the fraudsters," Pillay said.

She said most card fraud incidents happen at places of entertainment such as bars and restaurants. "Therefore, it is not unusual to expect these syndicates to increase their operations during busy shopping periods such as the festive season," she said.

- Avoid being a victim:

l Report a lost or stolen card immediately.

l Don't carry too many bank cards on you.

l Check your monthly statement and report any irregularities to your bank.

l Always have your lost and stolen cards hotline number stored somewhere.

l Never let your credit card out of sight when making a payment. Go with your card to the point of sale terminal or ask for a portable device to be brought to you.

l Check the card you receive back from the cashier after making a payment, ensure that it is indeed yours.

l Never lend your card to anyone.