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Don’t be caught: the top digital scams in SA since lockdown started

Many South Africans are now falling victim to digital fraudsters


International Fraud Awareness Week was celebrated this month in numerous countries, including SA. It calls on consumers to step up in their communities and help build a culture of cybersecurity. 

From about 2004, the world began to realise cybersecurity was a huge concern. The more people used the internet, the more risk there was for breaches in security as hackers were getting in where they did not belong. It was with these concerns in mind that International Fraud Awareness Week was established to help focus attention on this critical issue.

One year after the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, TransUnion’s latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends showed that since the start of the pandemic, there had been an increasing number of digital fraud attempts against SA businesses. 

In addition, TransUnion’s Global Consumer Pulse Study found that 37% of SA consumers had recently been targeted by Covid-19-related digital fraud.

The financial services sector remains a top target in Africa when it comes to cybercrime – not surprising when one considers the sector’s digital-first approach, driven by the needs of its customers.

Standard Bank has various digital security measures in place to help consumers conduct their everyday banking with peace of mind. The onus is, however, still on consumers to avoid falling into the digital traps set by fraudsters.

The top Covid-19-related digital scams

Kaspersky data shows that more than two-thirds of local respondents or their loved ones have been targeted by criminals via social networks since the outbreak of the virus.

How to spot a scam

  • What you are offered or promised sounds too good to be true.
  • The offer takes you by surprise, or the prize relates to a competition you never entered.
  • You’re given limited time to confirm your details or win the prize, catching you off guard.
  • You receive the information via a free email address (like Hotmail, Aim, Yahoo or Gmail).
  • You are promised large sums of money for very little or no effort on your part.
  • You’re asked to provide money upfront, for whatever reason, to receive the money or prize.
  • You’re asked to confirm personal or account details via a hyperlink, an icon or an attachment in an email or over the phone.

About two in five consumers (41%) reported they were personally aware of a Covid-19-related digital fraud attempt targeting them in the previous three months – and 7% had fallen victim to such crimes, according to TransUnion.

This increase in online banking fraud has strengthened Standard Bank’s resolve to let its customers bank differently and make full use of the digital and mobile security measures the bank provides.

This article was paid for by Standard Bank.

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