How to transact safely online and avoid card fraud over the holidays

Ellis Atekpe

As we start the holiday season, it is important to empower yourself not to fall victim to Card Not Present (CNP) fraud, which occurs when neither the card nor the cardholder is present whilst a fraudulent transaction is being conducted.

In 2019 the Bank of Ghana (BoG) reported a total number of 2,295 fraud cases in the banking industry as compared to 2,175 fraud cases reported in 2018. The marginal increase in the number of fraud cases reported may partly be attributed to the improved efforts by the Financial Stability Department of the BoG, to identify, monitor and to ensure compliance with reporting of fraud cases in the industry.

While banks take on measures to curtail the menace of cyber and monetary fraud, consumers ought to be more aware of the risks of card fraud and the ways in which they can protect themselves from falling victim. And while the Covid restrictions and the Christmas rush draws thousands of shoppers online, it is now more important to take extra precautions when shopping online this year.

Ellis Atekpe, Chief Operations Officer at First National Bank says, “The growth of online shopping globally has been significant, and the outlook is particularly encouraging. More and more consumers are regularly purchasing everything from basic household necessities to clothing and gadgets at the click of a button. Not only is it safe and convenient, you earn cash rewards back every time you pay with your First National Bank Visa card.”

Nonetheless, to continuously get the best experience when shopping online, it’s equally as important to ensure that you are not caught off guard by online “fraudsters.”

Ellis shares some tips for consumers to consider when shopping online with their Visa debit cards.

  • Ensure that you are buying from reputable vendor websites and Apps.
  • Enter the vendor’s details by typing in the site URL yourself instead of accessing it via a search engine as it might lead you to a spoofed site.
  • Never access the website from a link you receive in an e-mail or SMS.
  • Make sure that you are not on a spoof site by clicking on the security icon on your browser tool bar, to see a Padlock and that the URL begins with https rather than http.
  • Never save your personal and banking details on any merchant website. If the option presents itself, always remember to click ‘No’.
  • Always remember to log off immediately when you have finished shopping.
  • Always ensure you download the latest anti-virus software on your PC and mobile device, where possible.
  • Never provide your card details unless you’ve initiated the transaction.
  • If you are a First National Bank customer, ensure that your in-Contact details are up to date in order to get notified when money leaves your account.
  • Should you suspect any fraudulent activity, immediately report the incident through the Banking App or contact the number at the back of your card.

There is an extra layer of security on your First National Bank Visa Card on the App. This allows you to instantly block your card if you suspect any fraudulent activity on it.  Remember, First National Bank will never ask you to share your One Time Pin (OTP) over email, SMS or phone, so keep it safe.

“Following the above quick safety precautions and keeping up to date with the measures that your bank is using to prevent online fraud will give you peace of mind when shopping online with your Visa card,” concludes Ellis.

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