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Fraudsters cash in on ‘card-not-present’ online shopping

Restrictions on physical shopping activity during the COVID-19 crisis and increased online shopping in recent months has led to a surge in fraudsters targeting consumers through “card-not-present” shopping activity.

“The latest modus operandi is that criminals contact consumers to deceive them into willingly compromising their card details and One Time Pin (OTP),” says FNB Head of card fraud Senzo Nsibande. “In such cases, criminals will call pretending to be from your bank of choice, informing you that there’s been fraud detected on your account while offering help to reverse the transactions. They then ask you to read out the OTP that you have just received, which simply enables them to fraudulently purchase goods using your card details online. Most people unknowingly read out their OTP and as a result, fall victim to fraud. An OTP is a dynamic number generated by your bank to you to authenticate transactions when shopping online.”

He offers these tips to protect against such crimes:

  • Be alert and aware of individuals contacting you pretending to be from the Bank;
  • Fraud Departments or any official from a bank will never ask you to disclose your PIN or OTP;
  • Protect your card details and ensure that you shop via secure platforms or websites;
  • Register for inContact, a free instant SMS service that notifies you when your card is swiped or when cash is withdrawn from your account.
  • Do not disclose your OTP to anyone, including family, friends and ‘bank officials’;
  • Protect your OTP the same way to protect your card PIN;
  • Never send emails quoting your card number, expiry date and CVV number;
  • Verify any information presented on a suspicious call by checking your transaction history through the banking App or the Contact Centre using the number on the back of the card;
  • Should you suspect any fraudulent activity, immediately report the incident through the Banking App.

“Online shopping continues to rise across the world and with COVID-19, the upward trend is likely to continue,” he says. “While we continue to encourage the use thereof, we advise consumers to familiarise themselves with the new ways that criminals are using to defraud unsuspecting people. More importantly, we urge consumers to always protect their personal information. For our customers, we remind them that FNB will never request their private information such as an OTP or their card PIN for any reason.”

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