Your credit card security

FNB-Visa Card Security Week event-1

Gina and I were invited to a presentation by FNB and Visa representatives at SLOW in the City last week. The presentation formed part of FNB and Visa’s Card Security Week awareness initiative:

Visa study shows South African consumers have high awareness of fraud, but still a need for education

Johannesburg, March 2012. In an effort to increase awareness around debit and credit card safety, Visa and First National Bank (FNB) have teamed up to highlight the importance of card security to better educate consumers and protect them against fraud.

Through an annual campaign running this year from the 13 – 16 March 2012, the Visa FNB Card Security Week aims at driving awareness among consumers about card and transaction safety while enjoying the benefits and convenience of electronic payments.

The evening involved 3 presentations highlighting risks cardholders face (with emphasis that banks are not seeing marked fraud increases, necessarily, just that there are risks) and how these risks change as technologies change. Cards are apparently becoming more secure so fraud techniques are shifting to careless fraud techniques like sleight of hand at ATMs (we saw ATM videos showing how fraudsters trick older people or even distract them and grab cash right out of the machines) and pretty smart techniques involving fraudsters installing camouflaged card readers and cameras onto ATMs to scan magnetic strips, capture PIN code entries and send the data to the fraudsters to exploit further. We also saw a key-logger which looks exactly like an adaptor for old keyboards. Frightening to think how easy it is to be caught out.

Of course consumers still have to contend with card skimmers which are tiny and easily concealed. The fact that this remains an option indicates, to me at least, one of the challenges facing banks and consumers. Because Visa, MasterCard and other card companies operate worldwide and have to support a wide range of technologies, we still have cards with magnetic strips that are vulnerable to attack using older technologies like skimmers. Ideally we should all be using purely chip based cards or whatever the next generation of secure credit card is but that involves what must be a pretty substantial upgrade of all card access facilities. So, for now, this means we, as consumers should remain vigilant and informed of the risks we face from increasingly tech savvy fraudsters and other criminals. At the same time, don’t forget about the low tech crooks too who distract you at ATMs and pick your pockets.

FNB’s and Visa’s security tips are pretty straightforward and you may know them already. Just the same, its worth a little refresher to take a few minutes to watch the video above.

The venue was amazing and is restrictive to a select group of FNB, RMB and Investec customers. No pedestrian Platinum Cards will suffice so I made sure to take a couple photos on the way out.


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