Beware of new e-commerce fraud modus operandi

Read time 2min 30sec

First National Bank (FNB) is warning customers of a new e-commerce fraud scheme, saying the growing trend of online shopping requires users to be vigilant.

The bank says as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive e-commerce, fraudsters are also stepping up efforts to swindle people.

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the role e-commerce plays in SA’s retail sector, fuelling a dramatic increase in the uptake of online shopping.

This growing trend, FNB says, has also fuelled new tricks for criminals, and the latest modus operandi involves methods such as “enumeration” and “account testing”.

With this trick, FNB says, online merchant fraudsters use automated scripts or software to attempt transactions or payments.

According Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Card, there has been a rise in the new fraud modus operandi targeting unsuspecting online shoppers.

“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.”

FNB is urging customers to not click on links in e-mails or third-party websites when shopping online, saying they should rather type in the website address themselves.

“Never disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs to anyone. The bank will never ask you to process a transaction in order 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 or withdrawals. Use up to date software to perform regular anti-virus and malware scans on your personal devices.”

Trish Ramdhani, head of fraud at FNB Card, comments: “To help minimise the risk of fraud, we recommend that consumers use trusted websites for online shopping. Consumers can identify the security of a site through ‘https’ or the padlock icon on the Uniform Resource Locator.

“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.

“Through our trusted digital platform, we continue to educate our customers against the latest fraud scams and use these fraud prevention methods. We advise consumers to familiarise themselves with the new ways that criminals are using to defraud unsuspecting victims. More importantly, we urge consumers to always protect their personal information and to use any of our banking interfaces to immediately report any suspicious transactions on their bank accounts.” 

See also