In a world that’s ever-shifting towards a digital economy, we’ve all become everyday financiers. Managing online accounts, juggling subscriptions, and navigating the confusing world of e-commerce. But with the ease of digital transactions comes a hidden labyrinth of potential pitfalls.
Without even knowing it, you might be dancing dangerously close to the edge of financial foul play. Ever sent money as a “friend” online to avoid fees? Or maybe shared that streaming password with just one too many pals? Dive in as we unravel some accidental fraudulent money habits that could be lurking in your everyday actions.
Accidental fraudulent activities can be a real concern for many. Often, people don’t realise they’re crossing a line due to lack of knowledge, oversight, or because some actions have become normalized in everyday life.
So, ready to ensure your money habits are on the up and up?
1. Shopping with someone else’s credit card
Even if your spouse or parent gave you permission to use their credit card, you are committing credit card fraud when you punch in their private pin code or sign their name. It may seem like a small thing, especially seeing as you have been given authorisation from the credit card holder but by allowing it the credit card holder is breaking the terms of agreement. Protect yourself and the credit card holder, and don’t use their card to pay for things.
2. Lying on credit applications
If you are not 100% honest about your expenses and income when filling out a credit application i.e. credit cards, clothing accounts, loans – you are committing fraud. Not only is it illegal but having access to credit you cannot afford is also one of the easiest ways you will get yourself in over your head. Protect yourself and be painfully honest on loan applications.
3. Not disclosing 100% of your income to SARS
It is common knowledge that being dishonest about your income equals tax fraud. We get it. Tax season can be, for lack of a better word, taxing. It’s that time of year when we sit down with stacks of papers, digital receipts, and a calculator, hoping everything adds up correctly. Tax fraud is punishable with exuberant fines, imprisonment, correctional supervision or community service. Be safe and disclose everything!
If some of your income isn’t automatically deducted for tax you have to get into the habit of putting money away every month for it. If you don’t do this the amount you have to pay in at the end of the financial year might cause you to make senseless debt.
4. Sharing Streaming or Subscription Services
Let’s face it; it’s tempting to share a password here or there. But did you know that unauthorized sharing could breach terms of service or even be viewed as fraud? Yikes!
5 Misusing “Friends and Family” Payment Options
Some platforms, like PayPal, offer reduced fees for transactions labeled as “friends and family”. However, using this for business transactions to evade fees is against the platform’s terms and can be seen as fraudulent.
6. Casual Currency Exchange
Exchanging money with friends or acquaintances traveling from another country might seem innocent, but it can be viewed as an unofficial and illegal exchange if large sums are involved.
Take care of yourself and your finances and adapt good and honest money habits this spring.