As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated and more frequent, banks are setting up Financial Crime Information Centres.
JOHANNESBURG - As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated and more frequent, banks are setting up Financial Crime Information Centres (FCIC) to work collaboratively with banks to address these crimes efficiently and effectively. 

The information provided by institutions like the South African Banking Information Centre (SABRIC) has already helped to change statistics to the detriment of cybercriminals. This institution has reported that the baking industry has witnessed a general decrease by 32,2% in counterfeit debit card fraud in 2018, thanks to measures taken together with banks. 

These decreases can be attributed to the strong mitigation strategies to reduce card skimming implemented by banks alongside SABRIC. For example, card holders were properly encouraged to keep an eye on the ATM Card slot to ensure that their cards are not taken out, skimmed or replaced without their knowledge. This shows that information provided at the right time and through the right means can function as a deterrent to cybercrime. 

Even though counterfeit card fraud has decreased, criminals are always trying to find ways to exploit digital platforms to defraud victims. Instances of Online Bank Fraud have become more and more common in South Africa. This type of cybercrime is usually committed across banking apps, online banking and mobile banking, since they provide online access to personal credentials. In 2017, 13,438 mobile banking incidents were reported to  SABRIC and when comparing January to August 2017 to the same period in 2018, these incidents showed an increase of more than 64.3%. 

The financial services industry has strongly committed to combat cybercrime, as the number of online banking incidents has skyrocketed. Business disruptions due to cyber incidents are taken seriously by the South African financial services sector. As financial services industry’s top concern is cyber incidents, their mitigation strategies are robust and are not easily undermined. However, it is easier for criminals to target online banking users, who are more vulnerable, as not all of them are digitally literate. 

According to Christian Rennella, CEO of the financial comparison site QuotesAdvisor.com, digital illiteracy is the direct cause of Account Takeover Fraud because online banking users are usually easily tricked into revealing confidential information mainly through phone calls or text messages. Criminals can then easily get enough information to impersonate victims, bypassing bank security protocols. Coupled with strong security protocols, information campaigns aimed at raising awareness of cybercrime are the most efficient way of deterring cybercriminals. The more information it is available for online banking users and card holders, the less prone they are to become victims of fraud.

How to avoid an online scam?

The financial website shares some advice about online fraud protection. 
  1. Do not write down the data of the card, especially any password. Do not pass all the data on your credit card by email, and avoid giving it away by phone or SMS. If you are at the bank, do not ask for help from strangers to do ATM operations. 
  2. Never take pictures of the credit card, especially if someone ever has access to your image gallery. Even if you don't take pictures of the CVS pin, using social engineering and specialized software, the scammer can try to make purchases on behalf of the cardholder. 
  3. Periodically, review your bank account details and subscribe to security notifications. It is important to check frequently the bank transactions and the statement to make sure that there were no irregular transactions. Check that the company or bank responsible for your card has some alert technology by SMS message or email if any suspicious activity registered on your card occurs 
  4. Download your bank's app. There are 100% online banks, for those who do not yet use your bank's app, this may be a great idea in terms of security. The online bank service is increasingly reliable.
  5. Beware of suspicious calls and emails. Do not open messages with overdue invoices, because it can contain suspicious files or capture your data. Also, do not provide passwords or access codes or validation codes for digital transactions (such as security code or token). It is also important not to access links and websites with guidance from people who come into contact by phone or email. If a stranger makes contact with you through these channels, beware.
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