Don't Be a Victim of Criminals This Festive Season

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) on behalf of the banks is currently on an awareness drive to warn bank customers of numerous bank-related crime scams as we approach the festive season.

“We want to warn customers to be vigilant during the festive season; especially around scams that promise you huge returns with minimal effort” said it’s CEO; Kalyani Pillay.

Amongst the scams that the banking industry warn about are the Deposit and Refund Scams, fraudulent requests to change bank account details and Advance Fee Scams.

The Deposit and Refund Scam involves criminals ordering goods or services from a business or individual and then paying money into the victim’s bank account, mostly by depositing a fraudulent cheque. Sometimes, proof of payment is fabricated to create the impression that the deposit was made in cash. Following this they send the ‘proof of payment’ to the business or individual and then the goods are released to the criminal. Alternatively they cancel the order and request an urgent refund of the funds made. The Bank will then process the cheque and discover that the cheque is fraudulent and reverse the credit on the victim’s bank account, or discover that no deposit was made at all. As a result, no funds are transferred into the victim’s account and the victim is subsequently out of both the monies and the goods.
Bank customers are encouraged to ensure the following so that they don’t fall victim to this scam:

  • No ‘refund’ should be made without first verifying with the Bank that the deposit that has been made into your account is, indeed legitimate
  • Wait for all deposits (cheque, cash or electronic) deposits to be cleared first before releasing the goods or services to a depositor
  • Always check your Bank statements or contact your bank to establish if the funds have been cleared and are available in your account before releasing the goods
  • Protect your personal information as well as that of your company. Criminals gain access to you and your organization details through your personal information.

SABRIC has also seen that the change of banking account details scams also remains prevalent as bank customers are still duped by scammers telling them that certain suppliers have changed their banking details.

Another scam that bank customers must be wary of is advance fee scams. In this scam, fraudsters extort funds from the victim with the promise of higher value in return. As a victim of this scam you will receive an email or text message stating that you have won a lottery or a prize and need to contact someone to collect your prize. The con artist will convince you that in order for you to receive your prize, you must pay an initial administrative cost into a nominated account.

“Fraudsters often use the names of reputable companies to try to con people into believing that their scams are legitimate”, explains Pillay. “Do not accept unsolicited communications at face value.”

SABRIC advised bank customers to apply the following tips to ensure that they do not become victims:

  • Follow the saying ‘If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is’.
  • Always be suspicious of email or text messages stating that you have won a prize if you have not entered a competition, and never pay an amount in advance to secure your prize.
  • Never pay any fees upfront, unless you are sure that the person or company that you are dealing with is a reputable supplier.

For interviews with the CEO and media queries contact:

Media and Communications Manager

Tel: 011 847 3000