Category Fraud/Crime

Avoiding Festive Season Fraud

04 December 2020 [email protected]

With the festive season being synonymous with more transactions, especially as people typically have more money at this time of year, the greater the probability there is of fraud occurring.

In fact, according to PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, South Africa has the third most incidents of economic crime in the world behind India and China. “This festive season, I believe that there will be an uptick in fraud, unless South African consumers and businesses are more security conscious,” says Nicho Bouma, Chief Information Officer at [email protected] - a leading bill payment aggregator offering secure payment solutions.

He continues: “More people have been forced to enter the digital space this year, due to the COVID-19 crisis. With many being new to the digital experience, they can easily fall prey to schemesters.” To prevent consumers from becoming victims of cybercrime, he urges them to only use well-known digital channels when making payments such as a banking site or app, trusted payment portal or mobile payment apps like SnapScan and Masterpass where strict security protocols are in place.

For those who are nervous about using online channels over this time, he suggests that they make their payments at retailers like Checkers, Pick n Pay, Spar, Pep, and others. “This way, they can pay using cash or a card and won’t have to worry about exposing their card or banking payment details when paying their bills.”

Bouma also encourages consumers to carefully scrutinise their bills and to look out for subtle differences such as misspellings, a blurred logo or one with slightly different colours; the inclusion of different banking details; or a different email address with small changes (.com or .org instead of “Often, people fall for scams where the service provider has supposedly changed their bank account number. If you are in doubt, call them to confirm the details on your account.”

Unfortunately, consumers aren’t the only ones at risk of becoming victims of fraud, with 60% of South African businesses reporting that they have experienced fraud and/or economic crime within the past 24 months[i]. With this in mind, he advises businessowners to be extra vigilant at this time of year. “By using a payment aggregator for example, businessowners - and their customers - are able to receive real-time payment confirmation regardless of the payment option used and can have the settlement of these payments guaranteed. Additionally, payments are supported by detailed transaction-level reporting. By reconciling the data received from our network at the end of each day, our clients receive a daily report of the previous day’s transactions before 8AM – helping them to keep an eye on their commercial activity.

“Small and medium enterprises such as plumbers, electricians, and artisans can also benefit as [email protected] and some other payment aggregators enable these businessowners to issue invoices that incorporate a ‘pay now button’ or a QR code, meaning that clients can pay them on the spot.”

Bouma concludes, “While it has been a tumultuous and tiring year, I beg consumers and businessowners not to let their guard down this festive season. Sadly, 2020 has impacted a number of people financially who, in their desperation to survive, are turning to crime. Be safe and security savvy!”


Quick Polls


Healthcare brokers have long complained about inflation-plus medical scheme contribution increases; but pandemic may have changed things. What will pandemic-induced changes in hospital utilisation do to medical scheme contribution increase patterns?


Below inflation increase for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
Long-term trend of below inflation increases
Inflation-linked hikes for 2022, then back to inflation-plus
This is a 2-year hiccup, inflation-plus increase trend remains in place
fanews magazine
FAnews June 2021 Get the latest issue of FAnews

This month's headlines

Broker and insurer collaboration should not be a one-way street
Running on outdated systems… There's risks
Policy wordings with respect to COVID-19
Death or divorce... how best to split assets
Ethical investing… principles and moral codes
Portfolio positioning will serve investors well
Subscribe now