Earlier this month, I was invited by the Cutting Edge team to be part of the press at the launch of the FNB Zambia and Visa Card Security briefing. This briefing was an initiative aimed at creating greater awareness amongst consumers to adopt cards as a safe and convenient way to make their daily purchases.
As a regular user of the FNB Visa card, I was interested to hear what this briefing would cover. I expected the normal obligatory warnings of how we should not share our pins or how we should be careful with online shopping, and of course these points were raised. But I was alarmed at the number of card fraud practices that seem to have evolved over the years.
Cards have become an increasingly popular way of paying for goods and services in Zambia and FNB predicts that the value of card transactions will, in coming years, exceed the value of cash purchases amongst the Zambian population. In view of this, it is extremely important that people are aware of the risks involved and what they can do to avoid becoming victims of card fraud.
Salome Makau, Country Manager for Visa in Zambia says: “Card fraud is a reality; however, we are continuously monitoring transactions as well as card fraudsters around the world to ensure we are up to date with their methods of obtaining customer information.”
Common types of card fraud
Skimming and cloningFrom FNB’s perspective, skimming and cloning remain the biggest card fraud threat to customers.
Skimming is the theft of credit card information used in an otherwise legitimate transaction. The thief can procure a victim’s credit card number using basic methods such as photocopying receipts or more advanced methods such as using a small electronic device ( known as a skimmer) to swipe and store a victim’s credit card numbers. Common scenarios for skimming are restaurants or bars where the skimmer has possession of the credit card when it is out of the cardholder’s immediate view. Skimming can also occur at an ATM. The fraudster uses a ploy to obtain the payment card, copies the information and then observes the victim entering a Pin number.
Cloning occurs when the fraudster uses the information obtained to produce a cloned card. Access to the victim’s account is then possible.
Don’t let your card out of your sight. Remain vigilant at an ATM and do not allow yourself to be distracted from your transaction; and cover the key pad when entering your pin.
PhishingOn the Internet, “phishing” refers to criminal activity that attempts to fraudulently obtain sensitive information. There are several ways a scam artist will try to obtain sensitive information such as your social security number, driver’s license, credit card information, or bank account information. Sometimes a scam artist will first send you a benign email (think of this as the bait) to lure you into a conversation and then follow that up with a phishing email. At other times, the scam artist will just send one phishing email. Do not give away your confidential banking information.
SmishingSimilar to phishing, smishing uses cell phone text messages to lure consumers in. Often the text will contain an URL or phone number. The phone number often has an automated voice response system. And again just like phishing, the smishing message usually asks for your immediate attention.
In many cases, the smishing message will come from a “5000” number instead of displaying an actual phone number. This usually indicates the SMS message was sent via email to the cell phone, and not sent from another cell phone. Do not respond to smishing messages.
Tips on how to avoid card fraudDespite the security barriers put up by banks, the biggest responsibility in avoiding card fraud lies with the card holder. The best way to defeat card fraud is to be vigilant when using your bank card personal identification number, or PIN. Criminals are aware of the value of a PIN and will create a number of ruses to convince a customer to disclose their PIN. Therefore, awareness of a few simple precautions will go a long way in helping to keep your PIN safe:
FNB offers its customers the latest fraud protection technology, often working behind the scenes, but always vigilant. However, the best defence is an informed and careful card user. FNB Zambia will continue to present fraud prevention tips to its customers to ensure that they enjoy the convenience and security of FNB and Visa bank cards. For more information or concerns about card fraud, please call the FNB Zambia fraud department on +260 211 366800 or visit your nearest FNB Zambia branch.