Fraudsters are out in force – do not get taken in

FAKE: Be aware of fraudsters who are out in force to separate you from your money Picture: Alpha Stock Images

According to a report from the police, the number of fraud cases has increased significantly during 2020.

Fraud includes acquiring PINs from unsuspecting victims at ATMs as well as fraudulent letters and other requests for money.

During these desperate times, when money is in short supply, criminals have established the best way to take your money from you.

ATMs

NEVER, ever give anyone your PIN (Personal Identification Number). Your credit, debit or account PIN is the way your bank or other financial account is protected. If anyone gets hold of your PIN your account will be open for them to what they want. If you are having problems at the ATM, rather go to the bank and get a bank employee to assist you. Never get anyone else (and certainly not a complete stranger) to assist you at an ATM.

Unfortunately, some people might genuinely want to help you, but you should thank them and then tell them you will handle it yourself. If they are genuine they will understand.

Do not use an ATM after dark if you are alone. This is a time when thieves and fraudsters are just looking for the elderly, the infirmed as well as other vulnerable people to con them into giving away their PIN.

Also, beware of fake phone calls purporting to be from a bank or other financial institution, as legitimate financial institutions will NEVER ask for your PIN.

Email fraud

In this age when most transactions are carried out electronically, fraudsters have worked out ingenious ways to con unsuspecting people.

We are all aware of the letters from foreigners who write to tell you of an inheritance you have been gifted, usually from an alleged distant relation you have never heard of. But fraudsters now employ more subtle methods to extract money from you. One such scheme is the fraudster pretending they are a battered woman who is attempting to escape with her children from a violent home. It is accompanied by pictures.

Rather join a local charity or service organisation (Rotary, Lions, Round Table, Masons or other) where monetary handovers are transparent.

Internet sales

A number of people have been caught-out by attempting to purchase items over the internet and, after paying for the item(s) never receive anything in return.

Make certain that there is a complete transaction-trail on any item you purchase this way. Do not trust that the person who is apparently selling the item is real or that there is an actual item for sale. Rather use a legitimate online sales outlet where purchase a delivery can be monitored. Join a legitimate classified sales page where sellers and buyers must register before any transactions are allowed.

Final word of warning

If a deal or offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get caught out. It is better to miss out on the “deal of a lifetime” than to lose your hard-earned money.

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