Protect yourself against credit card fraud

According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), credit card fraud in South Africa is still on the rise.


While having a credit card is convenient, it also comes with a big responsibility – you need to look after it. You should never share security details, such as your PIN or 3-digit CVV or CVC (at the back of your card), with anyone. This includes family members or service consultants. Remember, a service consultant will never ask for your PIN.

Protecting yourself is not simply limited to your physical credit card, it includes your credit card data too. Fraudsters do not physically need access to your credit card to transact with it. They can simply use your data to buy things online or to encode a counterfeit card.

According to SABRIC and Gavin Wasserfall, manager of Fraud Monitoring at Capitec, the 3 most common credit card scams in South Africa are:

1. Stolen credit card fraud

Fraudsters will steal or swap your card for a fake one. This type of credit card fraud is the most common and increased by 44.5% in 2017.

How it works: A fraudster approaches you at an ATM, pretends to assist you with your transaction and then steals or swaps your card. They may also install card entrapment devices at ATMs to capture your card details. Shoulder surfing also happens; this is when a fraudster simply looks over your shoulder to catch a glimpse while you are entering your PIN. Once they have your credit card information, they can transact using your card and PIN. Fraudsters can also use your card details to shop online.

Where it happens most: Fraudsters don’t only target their victims at ATMs, they also swap or steal credit cards or credit card details at petrol stations, toll plazas, liquor stores and clothing stores.

2. Card-not-present (CNP) fraud

Fraudsters don’t need physical possession of your credit card to be able to process fraudulent transactions. Personal information, such as your full name(s), ID number, billing address, card number, card expiry date and security code is more than enough for them to use.

How it works: Fraudsters can obtain this information from billing slips, through email phishing scams or by using a scanning device.

Where it happens most: Online or over the phone when fraudsters provide retailers with your credit card details to buy things.

3. Counterfeit fraud

Counterfeit card fraud has decreased in South Africa, thanks to increased security to protect clients. Chipped cards cannot be duplicated which means Capitec cards are not vulnerable to counterfeit fraud.

How it works: Fraudsters steal information from a card’s magnetic stripe using a scanner. They use the stolen information to produce and encode fake cards to transact with.

Where it happens most: It can happen anywhere, but is most common in countries that aren’t Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) or chip compliant.

What you can do to stay safe

  • Always sign the back of your card as soon as you receive it
  • Make sure you get your card back after drawing cash or paying for something
  • Be vigilant. Don’t accept help from anybody while transacting at an ATM
  • Don't use an ATM if you notice anything unusual or think it may have been tampered with
  • If the ATM retains your card, contact your bank immediately and stop the card before leaving the ATM
  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately. You can also use our app to stop your Capitec card
  • Cancel the transaction if you notice something suspicious or experience difficulty with an ATM
  • Save our Client Care Centre’s number (0860 10 20 43) on your cellphone and report any problems immediately
  • Don’t share any card information
  • Cover the pinpad when entering your PIN
  • Keep your daily or monthly card limits to a minimum
  • When you shop online, only use secure sites 
  • Shred your credit card receipts before throwing them away
  • Check your account balances and statements regularly (at least once a month) and report any suspicious or unfamiliar transactions

Read more about credit card scams here

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