Protect yourself from debit order fraud

paymentEvery year a large number of unsuspecting people lose their hard-earned money to debit order fraud… and often they won’t even notice it. The problem is that many people don’t understand debit order systems and how they work… or who is to blame when money goes missing.

The Ombudsman for banking services, Advocate Clive Pillay, told Mattr.biz, “It’s important for consumers to understand what a debit order entails. A debit order is an agreement between a customer and a service provider. In terms of that agreement the customer authorises the service provider to take money out of her or his account for the service provided. The bank is not a party to the agreement.”

So, how do you stop debit order fraud? How do you make sure that it doesn’t happen to you? And if you do fall victim to this crime, how do get your money back?

Check your statements

It’s surprising how many people never bother to check their bank statements. Often the amount isn’t obvious, just a small amount (enough to be worth it, but not enough to get noticed). It’s important to check your bank statements because it’s easier than you think to commit fraud with debit orders. It only takes a few moments to read through your statement at the end of the month and look for any unusual payments.

Don’t ignore the small amounts

A few cents, a few rand, maybe even R100… it’s easy to miss every month. The thing is that it all adds up in the end. When fraudsters only take a small amount, it’s often because they’re planning a long-term scam. Over time you could lose thousands without even knowing it.

Contact the culprit

Go directly to the source, the person or company that received the payment. According to Moneyweb, financial institutions like banks don’t believe they should to be held accountable for debit order fraud.

If all else fails…

If you can’t contact the source (many are scam companies) and you’re lucky enough to catch it soon enough, go to your bank and request a debit order reversal. Of course, you have to be quick about it and reverse the debit order in time.

Unlike muggings, pick-pocketing and break-ins, debit order fraud isn’t an obvious crime… but it is an easy one to commit. Every year an unbelievable amount of people become victims of theft without even knowing it. So, be vigilant and don’t become a statistic.

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