Look out for criminals cloning your credit card over the holidays

South Africans are warned that the holiday is the peak time for banking fraud, with a number of attacks on the rise locally.

This is according to Mazars South Africa Director Christo Snyman, who said consumers are particularly vulnerable to financial losses as a result of fraud during the December holidays.

“This is why it is vital that we all take the time to increase our awareness of fraud tactics and to know which warning signs to look for,” Snyman said.

In addition to fake travel agencies and other holiday-focussed scams, the December-January period is also the peak period for ATM fraud and the theft of contactless bank cards.

These are detailed further below:

ATM fraud

“During the excitement of the festive season, fraudsters are counting on you to be distracted when you use an ATM,” Snyman said.

There are a number of ways that you can be a target when drawing money at an ATM.

“Card swapping can occur when criminals distract you with a seemingly credible reason while you enter your PIN,” he said.

“They could then swap your card to access your cash from another ATM while you are confused as to what happened to your card.”

Card skimming can also occur if the ATM in question has been tampered with.

This employs the placement of a secondary card reader and camera on the ATM that lets criminals gain access to your information and clone your card.

“This type of scam can also happen at other point-of-sales,” Snyman said. “Do not ever let your card out of your sight.”


Many South Africans may also be concerned about the potential for exploiting tap-and-go functionality on their payment card.

However, it should be noted that using tap-and-go functionality requires a point-of-sale (POS) system verified by a bank.

“‘Tag and Go’ is very convenient, especially in these times when we want to reduce touching of shared surfaces,” Snyman said.

“If you enable this function on your card, make sure it never leaves your sight.”

“If you do choose to enable this function on your card, remember to always keep your card in-hand and that you always tap the point-of-sale device yourself,” he warned.

He also said South Africans should register for their bank’s notification service to raise an early alert if and when an unauthorised transaction is processed on their account.

Now read: FNB Easy customers can now replace lost or stolen cards at Clicks

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Look out for criminals cloning your credit card over the holidays