As we head into the festive season, the incidences of crime tend to increase – both for individuals and companies. Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) and Coface South Africa, an international credit insurer have both come out with crime prevention tips that should be taken note of ahead of and during the festive season.
On the business front....
- Don’t think because you are a business you are not vulnerable. Office equipment is as disposable as household goods and deserted office blocks are an invitation for criminals over the festive season. Beef up security with burglar bars and security gates and lock all windows and internal doors.
- Beware of bogus salesmen who will try to get access to your premises when things are at their most hectic and then rob you.
- Ahead of the holidays criminals will take advantage of the rush to get orders out so beware of things like identity fraud where false buyers pose as an existing client and then change the delivery address of the established client.
- Another scam is the creation of fraudulent duplicate companies and accounts in the name of an established company. Goods are ordered, delivered but never paid for.
Instructions on change of banking details is another scam that is prevalent as fraudsters can so easily copy an established clients stationery and through email.
- Do not buy goods if you suspect they are stolen – no matter how attractive the offer. Report fraud and corruption to the Public Service Commission's National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701 or to Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
On the personal front....
- Make sure your home is secured before going on holiday. Avoid leaving windows open for animals, remove keys from doors if these are accessible from a nearby window and have additional security gates on sliding doors and burglar bars on windows.
- Even if you are staying at home during the holidays with festive parties planned, make sure you close front doors and gates once your guests have arrived – criminals think nothing of either entering without being detected or staging a brazen attack.
- Criminals will be scouting suburbs posing as bogus salesmen to scout the area and see who is vulnerable. If you have staff looking after your property, warn them against allowing access to those posing as utility workers or security guards without proper verification.
- The holidays is the time when people are relaxed, have their guard down and are open to scam artists – from smooth talking con artists asking for donations to those offering competition prizes that are bogus. Don’t give your personal information or bank details without knowing exactly what it’s for.
- Always be observant and aware of your surroundings, suspicious people and don’t be distracted by talking on your cell phone or leaving parcels or bags unattended.