SA lost more than R873m to bank card fraud in 2018

File picture: Pexels

File picture: Pexels

Published Jun 26, 2019


Johannesburg - The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) said on Wednesday that it was concerned by the rise in bank card fraud which cost the country more than R800 million in the past year.

This as SABRIC, on behalf of the banking industry, released its annual crime statistics for 2018, in the main showing an 18 percent increase in combined gross card fraud losses on South African-issued cards, totalling more R873 394 351, with credit card fraud increasing by 18.4 percent and debit card fraud increasing by 17.5 percent.


"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," said Kalyani Pillay, chief executive of SABRIC.


"We have seen a sharp increase in Vishing incidents, where criminals phone bank customers, lead them to believe that they are speaking to the bank or a legitimate service provider and use social engineering tactics to manipulate them into disclosing their confidential bank 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."

According to SABRIC crime stats, lost and/or stolen debit card fraud amounted to 42.5 percent of all debit card fraud in 2018, and bank customers continue to fall victim to fraud at ATMs while transacting. 

SABRIC said 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 banks card and shoulder surf to obtain the PIN. 

Bank clients have been urged to never accept assistance from anyone at an ATM, no matter how friendly or helpful they may appear. 

They have also been urged to consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to contract or casual labourers’ personal bank accounts.

In 2018, 23,466 incidents across banking apps, online banking and mobile banking, amounted to more than R262 million in gross losses.


Pillay said it was concerning that incidents across these platforms increased by 75.3 percent.

"Criminals are very adept at understanding psychology and will use social engineering tactics to exploit any human vulnerability to harvest confidential information like a PIN or a password in order to steal cash," Pillay she said.

"When it comes to online banking, beware of Phishing emails that request that you click on a link. The link 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 emails."

On the bright side, SABRIC said it was pleased that cash in transit (CIT) robberies decreased by 22 percent, from 376 to 292 incidents from 2017 to 2018. 

Pillay said the organisation will continue to work closely with law enforcement and other partners to address the scourge and ensure further declines.


“To have any significant impact on the fight against all of these crimes, the collective efforts of banks, bank customers and law enforcement are imperative," Pillay said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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