Christo Snyman, director at Mazars in South Africa and president of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators’s Western Cape Chapter, said consumers were 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.
Here is a list of scams to look out this holiday season.
FALSE HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION AND ONLINE PACKAGES
Fraudsters often advertise affordable holiday accommodation and packages online, offering limited space on almost sold out or almost fully booked reservations.
The victims will then be encouraged to make a 50% deposit to secure their booking.
Always plan your holidays using reputable service providers and online platforms.
If you do fall victim to a scam like this, report it to the nearest police station immediately.
FAKE TRAVEL SITES
Fraudsters can create high-quality websites that offer amazing packages. They will then take payments from hundreds of tourists and close the site afterwards. They will establish another site and start over again.
You should, as a precaution, only use a travel agency that is a member of the Association of South African Travel Agents and the International Air Transport Association.
These are professional bodies that will assist you should anything go wrong.
TAP AND GO
The tapping function on your bank card can be very convenient when you are in a rush or want to reduce the touching of shared surfaces. However, if you choose to enable this function on your card, you need to make sure it never leaves your sight.
Remember always to keep your card in hand and to tap the point-of-sale device yourself.
You also need to ensure that you register for your bank’s notification service to raise an early alert if and when an unauthorised transaction is processed on your account.
ATM FRAUD: CARD SWAPPING AND CARD SKIMMING
There are a number of ways that you can be a target at the ATM.
Card swapping can occur when criminals distract you with a good reason while you enter your pin. They 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 happen at an ATM that has been tampered with. A secondary card reader and camera are placed on the ATM, and criminals gain access to your information and clone your card. This type of scam can also happen at other points of sale. Do not ever let your card out of your sight.
Inspect any ATM of foreign objects before you use it, and stay away from ATMs that are in dark quiet places. If you have been defrauded, contact your bank immediately to block your card.