- Digital crime incidents increased by 33% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to 2020 crime statistics released by the SA Banking Risk Information Centre.
- Social engineering remains the primary method used by criminals when targeting victims.
- Debit card fraud racked up R520.5 million in losses in 2020 - an increase of 26.5% compared to 2019.
With scammers taking advantage of consumers shopping online and working from home during the pandemic, digital crime incidents increased by 33% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to 2020 crime statistics released by the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) this week.
Gross losses due to fraud committed on South African-issued debit cards, for example, amounted to R520.5 million in 2020 - an increase of 26.5% compared to 2019.
Social engineering remains the primary method used by criminals when targeting victims. This involves the use of deception to manipulate an individual to provide confidential or personal information. Personal information includes identity documents, driver's licenses, passports, addresses and contact details amongst others.
Phishing is the use of a fraudulent email, which looks legitimate, to try to obtain personal information including passwords and card numbers. Vishing is the use of fraudulent phone calls or SMS phone messages for the same purpose - including to try to obtain one-time passwords.
In order to prevent banking fraud, SABRIC offers the following advice:
When destroying personal information, either shred or burn it - do not tear it up and put it in a garbage or recycling bag.
Never share your confidential information, including usernames, passwords, and PIN numbers with anyone.
Do not carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.
Avoid sharing or having joint social media accounts and be cautious about what you share on social media.
Make sure your PIN and passwords cannot be seen when you enter them.
Review your account statements regularly and query disputed transactions with your bank immediately.
When shopping online, only place orders with your card on a secure website.
Register for SMS notifications to alert you when products and accounts are accessed.
Create complicated passwords that are not easy to decipher and change them often.
Do not use internet cafes or unsecure terminals (hotels, conference centers) to do your banking.
Phishing and vishing
Do not send e-mails that quote your card number and expiry date.
Do not click on links or icons in unsolicited e-mails. Do not reply to these e-mails. Delete them immediately.
Banks will never ask you to confirm your confidential information over the phone.
If you receive an OTP on your phone without having transacted yourself, it was likely prompted by a fraudster using your personal information. Do not provide the OTP telephonically to anybody. Contact your bank immediately to alert them to the possibility that your information may have been compromised.
If you lose mobile connectivity under circumstances where you are usually connected, check whether you may have been the victim of a SIM swap.