Digital banking fraud in SA at all-time high - report

It’s discouraging to discover that digital banking fraud in South Africa is at an all-time high and there’s been a steady increase in this trend over the last four years, according to the latest annual SITEisfaction report by insights agency Columinate.

While the 2018 SITEisfaction recorded a marked increase in the awareness of potential fraud and scams across the board, 22% of users still fell victim to these criminals in the last year - up from 19% in 2017; 14% in 2016; and 12% in 2015.

“When it comes to the world of mobile banking, security ought to be the utmost priority and concern – as technological counter-measures evolve, so do criminals," says Columinate’s co-founder and CEO, Dr Henk Pretorius.

"While a handful of banks did take the initiative to educate their customers on the looming threats, the message is far from reaching saturation in the SA market."

In the view of Pretorius, the onus is on the banks to create banking platforms that are as secure as they are perceived to be, and to continually remind customers about new and potential threats.

A few new scams made their debut in 2018:

  • About 8% of users fell victim to the “You are a winner” Pay-to-Play scam;
  • About 13% of users fell victim to the advanced “Free Loan”/ “Prequalified Loan or Credit Card” scam;
  • About 4% of users were taken advantage of with the “Request for Help” e-mail fraud - which is regarded the "natural evolution" of the 419-scam – asking for help and promising riches in return;
  • About 6% of users fell victim to the traditional 419-scam;
  • Phishing scams are still a frequent occurrence, with 36% of respondents being targeted, and 7% falling victim to it in the last year.

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