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FNB warns of new banking scam targeting customers

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Financial services firm FNB is urging customers to use trusted and secure merchants to avoid being defrauded by merchant fraudsters when shopping online, amid an increase in e-commerce activity brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chris Labuschagne, chief executive of FNB Card, said the bank has seen a rise in a new fraud modus operandi targeting unsuspecting online shoppers in recent months.

The latest modus operandi involves ‘enumeration’ and ‘account testing’, where online merchant fraudsters use automated scripts or software to attempt transactions or payments.

“Fortunately, our fraud detection measures have been effective in preventing many of these attempts, and we immediately block merchants for this activity. However, consumers need to maintain high levels of awareness as fraudsters regularly evolve their methods,” he said.

Trish Ramdhani, head of fraud at FNB Card, said to help minimise the risk of fraud, consumers should use trusted websites for online shopping.

She said that consumers could identify the security of a website through ‘https’ or the padlock icon on the Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

“We also encourage our customers to use their Virtual Card for online shopping to minimise the risk of fraud.

“Our Virtual Card has a dynamic Card Verification Value (CVV) security number that changes every hour. Furthermore, our customers can temporarily block, cancel or replace their FNB or RMB Private Bank cards via the FNB or RMB Private Bank Apps if they suspect fraudulent activity,” said Ramdhani.

Below FNB shared additional safety tips that consumers should practice to protect themselves and their card details against fraudsters:

When shopping online, do not click on links in emails or 3rd party websites; rather, type in the website address yourself. Never disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs to anyone. The bank will never ask you to process a transaction to reverse fraud. The bank will never ask you for your OTP or confidential information, such as your banking password. Check your bank statement regularly and thoroughly for any unauthorised transactions/withdrawals. Use up-to-date software to perform regular anti-virus and malware scans on your personal devices. Never send e-mails that contain your account number, card number, and expiry date. Use a secure connection and avoid public Wi-Fi. Only enter card details when finalising the purchase. “Through our trusted digital platform, we continue to educate our customers against the latest fraud scams and use these fraud prevention methods,” said Ramdhani.

“We advise consumers to familiarise themselves with the new ways that criminals are using to defraud unsuspecting victims. More importantly, we urge consumers always to protect their personal information and to use any of our banking interfaces to report any suspicious transactions on their bank accounts immediately.”