Consumers advised to be vigilant with personal information

Banking fraud, illicit job applications on the rise

Scammers are becoming increasingly creative.
Scammers are becoming increasingly creative.
Image: Getty Images

Fraudulent incidents such as illicit banking transactions and fraudulent job applications are on the rise and the public is warned to protect itself. 

According to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS), there has been a 32% increase in fraud incidents reported to it last year, and is raising the flag for consumers to take extra precaution with their personal information. 

"Once again, certain sectors are more open for fraudsters than others. Banking fraud made up 45% of the fraud incidents reported last year. This was followed by the micro finance sector (19%) and the clothing retail sector (14%). This indicates that financial institutions and the retail sector are under significant pressure regarding fraud," said SAFPS chief executive Manie van Schalkwyk.

He said money muling is still one of SA's most significant challenges, forged documents, impersonation fraud and employee application fraud.

One of the most common forms of money muling is when a victim is approached by someone claiming that they need to receive  money from a family member in another country and they need a bank account to perform this transaction.

Many people want to help and willingly let these fraudsters use their bank accounts.

Van Schalkwyk pointed out that fraudsters and scammers are becoming increasingly creative in scams. Money muling has again been flagged as a significant issue and many South Africans are becoming willing victims.

"The repercussions of being a money mule are significant. The guilty party will be listed with the SAFPS, and the result is that the individual could struggle to get access to finance for 10 years. It is one of the biggest issues that the SAFPS is currently facing, and it is important for the public to know about the seriousness of this crime," said Van Schalkwyk.

Employee application fraud has been noted to be on the rise mainly because of the SA's economic crisis and increasing unemployment which has resulted in some desperate people resorting to lie and misrepresent themselves in their job applications. 

As with previous years, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape are the main centres that experience fraudulent activity. However, there has been a significant increase in the Free State, Van Schalkwyk.

"While the Free State is only a small contributor to the country's fraud statistics, the province has experienced a 56% increase in fraudulent activity. Our investigations have picked up that this is being driven by money muling, which is very prevalent in the province," said Van Schalkwyk

He urged consumers to sign up for the SAFPS' protective registration to give them an extra layer of protection. It's a free service that protects individuals against future fraud.

"Consumers apply for this service, and the SAFPS alerts its members to take additional care when dealing with that individual's details. Protective registration provides an added layer of protection and peace of mind regardless of whether the applicant's identity has been compromised," he said.

Visit for more information.

The full 2024 fraud statistics will be released this week ahead of the SAFPS Fraud Summit, which takes place from Wednesday at the Indaba Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. 

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