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Don't Let Card Fraud Ruin Your World Cup

This week marks the start of the World Cup in South Africa and, in preparation, the country has put extra measures in place to protect tourists from criminals. However, given the expected rise in financial transaction volumes during the event, fraudsters will no doubt have made their own plans to target consumers as they spend money on their cards around the country. As a result, banks – both in South Africa and in the consumers’ home countries - will have to be even more vigilant than usual to effectively protect their customers from card fraud.

There are a number of different techniques that banks should use to ensure that they can accurately identify fraud. One example is monitoring card transactions in real time to identify fraudulent attempts at the earliest possible opportunity to prevent fraud losses. Real time monitoring can flag up suspicious transactions by combining everything that the bank knows about the customer and their usual spending patterns with a hot list of known fraud identifiers such as a risky terminal or a fraudulent sequence of events. At large events such as the World Cup, travellers will be naturally more susceptible to fraud, so customer education is crucial to ensure card fraud doesn’t spike at these events. Some top tips are available in a wallet-sized version at

Banks can also implement bi-directional phone alerting, such as using SMS, to enable them to send alerts or calls to individuals’ mobile phones whenever a transaction occurs that is flagged as suspicious, or is outside pre-defined parameters. Once the customer receives the message they respond to block their card immediately if it is fraudulent.

While banks may already have some of these fraud preventative measures in place, they should also be taking more simple steps such as planning ahead by looking at the dates and venues where the football games will take place. That way they can anticipate where and when transaction levels, and therefore the potential for fraud, are going to increase.

Michelle Weatherhead
Risk Solutions Manager