SA Reserve Bank issues online payment warning
JOHANNESBURG - THE SA Reserve Bank (SARB) has issued a warning to consumers to be vigilant against suspicious instant electronic funds transfer (EFT) online payment services ahead of the festive season shopping spree.
SARB said in a joint statement with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority that consumers should be aware of the risks associated with services offered at e-commerce stores.
The central bank said it was in consultation with the Payments Association of SA about the issue as all stakeholders in the payments industry did not support the use of screen scraping to effect payments. It said screen scraping exposed consumers to data privacy, fraud risk, breach of contractual agreements and a risk of financial loss and the goods purchased being lost.
“Rogue entities might pose as third parties offering instant EFT services on fake e-commerce sites to capture consumers’ access credentials for their bank’s internet banking websites,” the SARB said.
Consumers flocked to shopping centres since Friday to stock up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Others have preferred the dominance of online shopping platforms to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Instant EFT payments require the use of screen scraping - a practice where the consumer allows a merchant to access their bank account to process online payments. This effectively means that consumers have to share their banking information with a third party.
Chief executive for FNB Retail and Private Banking Raj Makanjee said the practice of screen scraping has made it incredibly difficult for consumers to protect themselves against cyber fraud and other criminal acts which target banking customers.
“Over the years, we have been working closely with industry partners to highlight the dangers of “screen scraping” while providing safer payments methods,” Makanjee said.
“Our message is simple: consumers must never share or cede control of their banking credentials to any third party.”
A recent report published by Mimecast estimated the volume of malicious and opportunistic cybercrime had increased worldwide by as much as 33 percent between January and March of this year.
SHA Risk Specialists’ Kirsten Cronin said no organisation was immune against cybercriminals. Cronin warned that businesses faced the possibility of suffering catastrophic material losses if they were not prepared.
“With the spike in online traffic that occurs on Black Friday, there is a heightened risk of businesses falling victim to cyberattacks,” Cronin said.