Fighting Fraud

Published on 10 July 2012 by Raffick Marday

Fighting Fraud with tips for consumers

1. Shopping on the Internet

  • If you’re not familiar with an online shop, check their statement regarding security on the site (terms and conditions and privacy policy) or call their customer help line number to reassure yourself before making a purchase
  • Make sure you can return any unsatisfactory items and check to see if your money can be refunded or if you will receive a ‘credit note’. Read their privacy policy and also their sales policies that should cover the delivery methods, cost of delivery, currency accepted, taxes applied, return and refund policy, and a contact number or mailing address – in addition to the e-mail address. Be aware that purchases from private sellers may be more at risk than those from registered businesses
  • When making online purchases, ensure you are using a computer that has appropriate levels of security e.g. anti-virus software and a firewall
  • Keep your software up-to-date. Download from the relevant entities and apply patches regularly to ensure operating system, main applications, virus checkers and firewalls are all performing as well as possible
  • Keep your passwords private and try to change them often. Create passwords that are difficult to figure out (avoid obvious passwords like your name, your birth date or your telephone number). Create passwords that use a mix of letters and numbers
  • Keep a record of your transactions – Just as you would save your receipt in the physical world, keep a record of all online transactions, including the merchant’s contact details and URL (Internet address)
  • Shopping confidently online – Visa has introduced “Verified by Visa”, a new service to give Visa cardholders complete confidence when shopping on the Internet. You will find a list on Visa Europe’s website
  • Beware of unauthorized e-mails or sites fraudulently requesting information such as bank card PINs – do not divulge such information unless you have been given explicit instructions by your bank that such use is appropriate. Do not accept these instructions via the Internet (e-mails, etc.) as they themselves may be fraudulent
  • When asked to provide payment details, ensure you are at the correct site. Check URL and also for presence of padlock. Clicking on the padlock reveals more information regarding owner of the certificate. If not sure, contact site owner and find out what you should look for with respect to these details

2. “Everyday shopping”

  • Report any loss of your cards immediately to your card issuer
  • When you receive a new or replacement card, memorise the PIN number and destroy the paper it is written on
  • Never divulge your PIN number to anyone. If you are concerned that someone may have got hold of it, contact your card issuer immediately
  • Take a note of the account numbers of your cards, together with the emergency contact numbers of your card issuers and keep these separate from your cards, whether at home or abroad. Alternatively you may call the Visa 24 hour emergency number corresponding to the country you are calling from. You will find a list on Visa Europe’s website
  • Keep an eye on your card when you hand it over to be swiped at a shop or in a restaurant and always check that the information on the sales voucher is correct before signing. Ensure your card is handed back to you
  • If you are at a cash machine and someone behind you is behaving suspiciously or attempts to distract you in anyway, move to another machine. It is possible that they may be trying to discover your PIN for fraudulent later use
  • Never drop or leave behind your receipts when using a cash machine or purchasing goods/services– these may well have your card details on them. Keep them until you have checked them against your statement and then dispose of them safely
  • Always check your statement to ensure that you can account for every transaction. Contact your card issuer if there are any transactions you believe you didn’t make

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