Drop in banking crimes, increase in business robberies and burglaries

Overall gross losses on card transactions in SA amounted to R428.6m, a 2% decrease from 2018. Counterfeiting of cards decreased by 44.8% for credit cards and 34.8% for debit cards. Stock image.
Overall gross losses on card transactions in SA amounted to R428.6m, a 2% decrease from 2018. Counterfeiting of cards decreased by 44.8% for credit cards and 34.8% for debit cards. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/glebstock

There has been a decrease in banking-related crimes across multiple platforms, the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said on Tuesday.

Sabric’s 2019 crime statistics showed a decline in the prevalence of associated robberies, cash-in-transit-heists and ATM attacks.

An “associated robbery” is a violent bank-related robbery of cash or a bank card committed against a client en route to or from a branch, ATM or cash centre to make a deposit or withdrawal.

The statistics showed that associated robberies in 2019 had decreased by 2%, with Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape showing the biggest decreases for these crimes.

ATM attacks decreased by 9% with the North West, Free State, Western Cape and Gauteng accounting for the greatest decreases.

The statistics showed cash-in-transit robberies decreased by 16%. All provinces, with the exception of KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, experienced incident decreases.

Sabric found that overall gross losses on card transactions in the country amounted to R428.6m. This was a 2% decrease compared to 2018.

The statistics also revealed that counterfeiting of cards had decreased by 44.8% for credit cards and 34.8% for debit cards.

“Collaboration is critical when it comes to combating organised financial crimes, and Sabric is well positioned to do just that by leveraging the collective efforts of its members and stakeholders. These results show what’s possible,” Sabric CEO Nischal Mewalall said.

Despite the decreases, business burglaries increased by 27% and business robberies by 86%.

Digital banking fraud incidents increased by 20%, but gross fraud losses on banking apps increased by only 1%, despite a massive drive by banks to increase the number of transactions processed on apps, Sabric found.

“Our banks have sound security measures in place to mitigate digital fraud.

"Criminals know this and therefore resort to manipulative social engineering tactics to get bank customers to inadvertently share their personal and confidential information, allowing them access to transact on customer accounts without authority.

“However, there have been no reports from our banks where a banking app was technically compromised to commit fraud,” Mewalall said.

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