Black Friday: How you can avoid falling victim to card fraud

With a day away from some of the biggest annual sales in the South African retail landscape, ‘Black Friday’ is the buzz words on every shopper’s lips.  But it’s not just the rowdy shoppers you need to protect yourself against but cybercriminals who are lurking online and making concentrated attempts to target discount-hungry shoppers, adds Tshipi Alexander, Head of Consumer Issuing at Absa.

“Black Friday, which falls on November 24 this year, is the day when retailers sell off stock for bargain prices. To help you navigate the online Black Friday sales and avoid becoming easy prey, we’ve got some tips to bear in mind,” Alexander adds.

When it comes to online fraud, however, reporting it to your bank and getting them to establish what happened can sometimes be a tardy process. Absa advises that “In order for your bank to take the matter forward and for the bank to establish what happened, it is advised that you go to your nearest branch and fill in the required paperwork in person for the bank to understand exactly what has happened. From there an investigation will take place to look at how the fraud took place in an attempt to recover the money but this will differ from each individual case.”

Whether you plan on shopping in store, online, or both, here are 6 tips that can help you:

  • Try to not use your birth date or birth year as a PIN as criminals may have access to this information should your bag or wallet be stolen.
  • While many people tend to save their important information on their cellphones. Alexander advises against doing so as should your cellphone be stolen criminals could be privy to all that information.
  • Another nifty tip is to make sure you sign the back of your card when you receive it from the bank. If it is stolen, the criminals will find it difficult to forge your signature.
  • Very importantly, when giving your card to be swiped, check the details on the card to ensure that they have given back the correct card.
  • When using debit or credit card at any point of sale outlet, never allow your card to leave your sight.
  • “Card fraud can also occur when you give out your card details online, especially if the website you’re shopping on isn’t secure. Always remember that even giving out ‘simple’ information like your name, card number, card expiry date and CCV number (the three digit number which appears on the back of the card) can result in fraud being committed on your card,” Alexander highlights.

In the unfortunate event of you falling victim to card fraud, it is vital that you remember to call your bank immediately as you have a better chance of getting your money back. This, “because as it stands banks will only refund customers who have been defrauded on their credit card, debit card or a transaction should it be actioned without the card owners authorisation. This only applies if the customer has not been “negligent” or deceived into making payments,” states Absa.

Make sure you stay safe by exercising patience and caution this Black Friday.

“The safety of you and your money is more important than saving a few Rands. Take your time, examine your surroundings, be skeptical of everything even when it gets chaotic, and don’t let yourself feel rushed (it will only lead to making mistakes),” Alexander concludes.