There’s been a 100% increase in bank robberies over the past year, while credit and debit card fraud has also seen a steady rise, according to the latest crime statistics presented by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) yesterday.
The combined gross card fraud losses on SA-issued cards saw an 18% increase from 2017 to 2018, totalling R873,394,351, with credit card fraud increasing by 18.4% and debit card fraud increasing by 17.5%.
“We are concerned about some of the increases, which clearly reflect that criminals will take every opportunity to get their hands on bank customers’ money,” says Sabric chief executive Kalyani Pillay.
Card Not Present (CNP) fraud on SA-issued credit cards remained the leading contributor to gross fraud losses in the country, accounting for 79.5% of all losses.
CNP fraud refers to cases where a physical card is not presented in order to make a purchase and most commonly occur in online and telephonic transactions. They mostly occur when criminals steal card information such as a card number through hacking, skimming or phishing.
“CNP debit card fraud showed the greatest increase in losses at 62.3% due to the enablement of Card Not Present transactions on debit cards,” she said.
Pillay said there’s been a sharp increase in phishing incidents, where criminals phone bank customers and lead them to believe they are speaking to the bank or a legitimate service provider. They use social engineering tactics to manipulate people into disclosing confidential card details, as well as other personal information.
“A bank will never call you to ask for this information. If you receive such a call, put the phone down immediately,” says Pillay.
She said in 2018, lost and/or stolen debit card fraud amounted to 42.5% of all debit card fraud and bank customers continue to fall victim at ATMs while transacting.
“Criminals approach victims under the pretext of being helpful and in many instances even pose as a bank official.
“They then steal the victim’s bank card and shoulder surf to obtain the PIN,” she said.
In 2018 there were 23,466 incidents across banking apps, online banking and mobile banking which amounted to R262,826,888 in gross losses.
Mobile banking incidents showed an increase of 100%, with gross losses of R28,941,040, while online banking incidents showed an increase of 37.5% with gross losses of R129,002,523.
Pillay said: “Criminals [will] exploit any human vulnerability to harvest confidential information like a PIN or a password in order to steal cash.”
She said when it comes to online banking, people should beware of phishing e-mails that request that you click on a link which directs you to a “spoofed” website designed to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information.
“Never click on links in unsolicited e-mails,” said Pillay.
On a positive note, cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies decreased by 22% from 376 to 292 incidents from 2017 to 2018.
Tips when using ATMs
- If you think the ATM is faulty, cancel the transaction immediately, report the fault to your bank and transact at another ATM.
- Avoid ATMs that are dimly lit or surrounded by loiterers, and never allow your children to draw money using your card, since they’re the most vulnerable to perpetrators.
- Have your card ready in your hand before you approach the ATM to avoid opening your purse, bag or wallet while in the queue.
- Be cautious of strangers offering to help as they could be trying to distract you to get your card or PIN.
- Follow the instructions on the ATM screen carefully.
- Only punch in your PIN once, when prompted by the ATM.