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Top digital scams that Impacted South Africa during lockdown

Since 2004, the world began to notice that cyber security was becoming a huge concern.

Since 2004, the world began to notice that cyber security was becoming a huge concern.

Published Nov 19, 2021


November sees the recognition of International Fraud Awareness Week in numerous countries all over the world, including South Africa.

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International Fraud Week, which will be from November 14 - 20, calls for taking an active role in our communities, where we all help to build a culture of cyber security. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility – one in which Africans, their governments, the private sector, education and our international partners all play a role.

Starting in 2004, the world began to notice that cyber security was becoming a huge concern. The more people used the internet, the more risk there was for breaches in security. As the internet is a public space, hackers are getting in where they don’t belong, and cybersecurity had already become an issue. It was with these needs in mind that International Fraud Awareness Week was established to help foster attention for this issue that has become a critical part of pretty much everyone’s lives.

One year after Covid-19, TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends found that since the Covid pandemic began, fraudsters in South Africa are increasing their digital schemes against businesses. In addition, TransUnion’s recent Global Consumer Pulse Study found that 37% of South African consumers have recently been targeted by Covid-19 related digital fraud.

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The financial services sector remains a top targeted industry in Africa when it comes to cybercriminal activity and such cyber threats – not surprising when one considers the digital-first approach this sector continues to take, driven by the needs and expectations of its customers.

The rise in digital fraud, especially during the pandemic, is a concern that consumers need to ensure they are armed to deal with. As a trusted partner, Standard Bank has various digital security measures in place to help consumers conduct their everyday banking with peace of mind. The onus is, however, still on the consumer to ensure they do not fall into the traps that fraudsters set in the digital sphere.

The top Covid-19 related digital scams were:

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  • Fake insurance
  • Unemployment
  • Third-party seller scams
  • Phishing
  • OTP vishing
  • Smishing and sim swop

Kaspersky data further shows that more than two-thirds of local respondents say that either they or their loved ones have suffered from criminals via social networks since the outbreak of the virus.

Around two in five consumers (41%) reported that they are personally aware of a Covid-19-related digital fraud attempt targeting them in the last three months, with 7% having fallen victim. (TransUnion)

Standard Bank notes the below in terms of understanding if something could be a scam or not:

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  • What you are offered or promised sounds too good to be true
  • The offer takes you by surprise, or the prize relates to a competition you never entered
  • You’re given limited time to confirm your details or win the prize, catching you off guard
  • You receive the information via a free email address (like Hotmail, Aim, Yahoo or Gmail)
  • You are promised large sums of money for very little or no effort on your part
  • You’re asked to provide money upfront, for whatever reason, to receive the money or prize
  • You’re asked to confirm personal or account details via a hyperlink, icon or attachment in an email or over the phone

These are some of the reasons digital security has become so crucial in the everyday lives of consumers in South Africa. The rise of online banking fraud informs Standard Bank’s drive for customers to bank differently and empower themselves to make full use of all digital and mobile security measures currently provided.