Digital banking crimes are on the rise‚ Sabric warns

Sim card and smart phone
Sim card and smart phone
Image: Li Xuejun/123rf

SIM swop fraud has more than doubled in South Africa‚ from 4 040 incidents in 2017 to 8 254 this year.

This is according to the inaugural digital banking crime statistics of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric)‚ released in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Last year‚ 13 438 incidents across banking apps‚ on-line banking and mobile banking cost the industry more than R250-million in gross losses.

“While incidents from January to August 2018 already show a 64% increase‚ we are pleased that the increase in gross losses is just 7% when compared to the same period in 2017‚” said Kalyani Pillay‚ Sabric’s CEO.

When comparing January to August 2017 to the same period in 2018‚ mobile banking incidents showed an increase of more than 100%‚ with gross losses of R23 593 631.

On-line banking incidents showed an increase of 44% with gross losses of R89 368 722. For the same period‚ banking app incidents increased by 20%‚ with gross losses of R70 156 364.

SIM swop fraud saw an increase of 104%.

“Criminals are always looking for ways to exploit digital platforms to defraud victims‚ but the mitigation strategies deployed by banks are very robust‚ so it is easier to target people‚ as they are the weakest link‚” said Pillay.

She warned that criminals were skilled at using social engineering to manipulate their victims into divulging their personal or confidential information.

“They capitalise on the fact that not all digital banking clients are digitally literate and exploit this vulnerability. Using technology coupled with social engineering‚ criminals can gather sufficient information to impersonate victims‚ bypassing bank security protocols.

“In most cases‚ clients are still compromised because of phishing‚ vishing or the installation of malware onto a victim’s device by having them click on a link‚ enabling the criminal to steal sufficient personal information to access their online banking profile.”

Sabric urged consumers not to click on links or icons in unsolicited emails or SMSs.

Although phishing scams are not new‚ criminals are always finding new ways to trick consumers by taking advantage of the slickness‚ convenience and efficiency of digital platforms.

“It is critical that consumers are aware that they are their money’s best protection on all digital platforms. We also cannot stress the importance of not sharing confidential information with anyone [and not] clicking on links in unsolicited emails‚” said Pillay.

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