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Massive spike in banking fraud in South Africa

Combined gross fraud losses on South African-issued bank cards soared by 18% in 2018, compared to the previous year, and totalled an astronomical R873.4-million, industry body Sabric said on Wednesday.

Sabric, or the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, revealed the number in its annual crime statistics report for 2018.

“We are concerned about some of the increases, which clearly reflect that criminals will take every opportunity to get their hands on bank customers’ money,” said Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay in a statement.

Credit card fraud increased by 18.4%, while debit card fraud rose by 17.5%.

“Card not present” (CNP) fraud on South African issued credit cards remained the leading contributor to gross fraud losses, accounting for 79.5% of the total. CNP debit card fraud showed the greatest increase in losses at 62.3%, due to the enablement of CNP transactions on debit cards.

“We have seen a sharp increase in ‘vishing’ incidents, where criminals phone bank customers, lead them to believe that they are speaking to the bank or a legitimate service provider, and use social engineering tactics to manipulate them into disclosing their confidential bank card details, as well as other personal information. A bank will never call you to ask for this information. If you receive such a call, put the phone down immediately,” said Pillay.

Online, mobile

In 2018, lost and/or stolen debit card fraud amounted to 42.5% of all debit card fraud and bank customers continued to fall victim to fraud at ATMs while transacting. “Criminals approach victims under the pretext of being helpful, and in many instances even pose as a bank official. They then steal the victim’s bank card and ‘shoulder surf’ to obtain the Pin.

In 2018, 23 466 incidents across banking apps, online banking and mobile banking amounted to R262.8-million in gross losses. Incidents across these platforms increased by 75.3%. Mobile banking incidents showed an increase of 100%, with gross losses of R28.9-million, while online banking incidents showed an increase of 37.5%, with gross losses of R129-million. Banking app incidents increased by 55.4%, with gross losses of R104.9-million for the same period. Sim-swap fraud incidents rose by more than 200% to 11 077 incidents.

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