SARB took on 27 scams in 2016 - report

Johannesburg – The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) investigated 27 money scams in 2016 and resolved 63 investigations from previous years.

This is according to the Bank Supervision Department (BSD) Annual Report for 2016, released on Friday.

The BSD looked into 19 schemes carried over from previous years as well as eight new schemes, the report explained. A total of 21 schemes were still being investigated by December 31 2016.

Last year, the Reserve Bank launched a national campaign to raise public awareness of illegal deposit-taking and advance fee schemes.

READ: Sarb warns South Africans of scams

These illegal deposit-taking schemes target vulnerable sectors of society, Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago explained at the launch of the campaign last year. “The hard-earned money of South Africans must be kept safe,” he said.

These schemes include Ponzi and pyramid schemes. Over 5 000 advance fee scams have been reported to the SARB in the past five years. An advance fee scam or 419 scam requires a victim to make small upfront payments of money in order to receive a larger sum.

ALSO READ: Fin24 user loses over R35 000 in scam

These schemes are still a concern for the BSD. “It has become apparent that, while some participants are duped into ‘investing’ in these schemes, a large proportion is participating knowingly, fully aware of the illegality,” the report read.

The BSD has been working with the National Prosecuting Authority and its Asset Forfeiture Unit to resolve cases.

In a statement, the SARB explained that cyber threats are not being taken lightly either. “It [the SARB] is serious about deepening cyber resilience in the financial services sector.” As a result, the Reserve Bank held its first cyber security conference in August 2016.

During January 2012 and December 2016, the Reserve Bank commenced repayment related to 57 cases.

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