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How seniors can keep fraudsters at bay throughout the new year

How seniors can keep fraudsters at bay throughout the new year
23-01-24 / Chris Smit

How seniors can keep fraudsters at bay throughout the new year

Johannesburg - With the start of the new year upon us, the need to remain vigilant when using or managing your money remains important, more so for seniors who are (in some cases) considered more vulnerable and are seen as easy targets.

Dr. Ilse Smuts, Product Growth Head, FNB Cash Investments says, “Managing one’s money is a collective effort between the customer and the bank, and while banks continue to make substantial investments in security systems, criminals continue to target vulnerable customers when attempting to defraud them. Often, the victims are senior customers who might accept unsolicited help or those who are unfortunately unaware of the modus operandi.”

“We strongly encourage our senior customers to practice some precautionary measures that will help protect themselves against possible fraud when transacting. Protecting yourself is not simply limited to your physical cash or bank card, it also includes being observant and practicing safe banking behaviour at ATMS, over the phone, on App or internet banking or through your credit / debit card data that can be used to buy goods online. It’s also important to emphasise that if one is negligent in protecting their banking details, they could unfortunately find themselves liable for debt racked up by criminals who have accessed their bank card information fraudulently”, says Smuts.

Chris Boxall, Head of Fraud, FNB Card adds that “As a bank we have invested resources to inform, educate and support our senior customers to bank safely without falling victim to fraud. Bank cards have many security features which are designed to minimise fraud while improving convenience, but card safety is a two-way street that requires consumers to exercise caution to avoid falling victim to fraudulent activities.”

Boxall advises senior citizens to always remember the following basics of cash and card safety when they’re banking:

  • Take note of cash and card safety measures recommended by your bank - There is a lot of misinformation about how customers can prevent card fraud, but it is always best to follow your bank’s recommendations on card safety, in addition to conventional ways of safekeeping your valuables.


  • Do not keep your card together with your PIN - This is one of the golden rules of card safety, but it is often ignored, because customers cannot anticipate losing their bag or wallet which tends to store such valuables. Rather be safe than sorry and memorise your PIN instead of writing it on a piece of paper or saving it on your phone. FNB offers a View Pin Facility on our banking app so you can easily and securely view your pin.


  • Do not disclose sensitive information to anyone - Fraudsters might contact you pretending to be from FNB’s fraud department to assist with a fraudulent transaction or debit order. The purpose of the fraudulent call is to obtain sensitive information such as your one-time pin (OTP). The bank will never ask you for your OTP or confidential information such as your banking password. When in doubt terminate the call and contact the number at the back of your card or report fraud and cancel your cards on the FNB Banking APP immediately.


  • Do not approve transactions you did not initiate on your banking App – Beware of payment notifications or approval requests on your banking App, that might prompt you to approve a transaction you’re unaware of. Immediately reject or decline the approval prompts and inform your bank immediately as this could be fraud.


  • Immediately report stolen and/or lost cards - FNB customers can easily cancel their cards or report possible fraudulent activity on their cards by using the Report function on the FNB App. The function further allows customers to replace blocked cards and schedule their own delivery by easily following the provided steps. Customers can also phone the contact centre or by visiting their nearest branches to report stolen cards as well as fraudulent card activity.
  • Take advantage of safer virtual card and contactless payments - The introduction of new payment technologies such as contactless payments and virtual cards give consumers far more safety and control over their bank cards and payments. The virtual card has a CVV that updates hourly, which reduces the risk of fraud as the verification data changes hourly. Since the virtual card is saved within your banking app, it’s impossible for it to be lost.
  •  Beware of Phishing, Tricksters, and Mimics - Scammers often pretend to be someone you may trust, like a banking official, an insurance agent or even a job provider. Don’t give out any card details, email addresses and other personal details to unknown persons. Avoid responding to such texts, phone calls, or emails.  

“Over the years, we have seen a significant rise in the number of consumers who prefer to use their bank cards to pay for goods and services, as cards offer increased safety benefits that far outweigh the risk and expenses associated with handling cash. To avoid falling prey to scammers seniors need to be highly alert and ensure that they prioritize safety at all times,” concludes Boxall.

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