How much money South Africans lose to cybercrime

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre has released it inaugural digital banking crime statistics report.

Speaking at an event in Johannesburg, SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay said that the number of mobile banking incidents have more than doubled compared to the same period last year, with gross losses of R23,593,631.

The number of incidents that occurred through banking apps saw an increase of 20% with gross losses of R70,156,364, whereas online banking incidents increased by 44% with gross losses of R89,368,722.

Pillay added that SIM swop fraud has seen a massive increase compared to the same period last year, with the number of incidents increasing from 4,040 to 8,254.

Average losses

Pillay detailed the average financial “onslaught” per digital banking fraud incident occurring in South Africa.

“The term ‘onslaught’ doesn’t necessarily refer only to successful incidents, but most of these attempts are successful,” Pillay said.

These figures can subsequently provide a general idea of how much money the average South African banking fraud victim loses in a single incident.

SABRIC compared average losses per incident across mobile banking, online banking, and banking apps from the period from January to August in 2017 to the same period in 2018. These averages are detailed in the table below.

Crime type Average onslaught for 2017 Average onslaught for 2018
Banking apps R7,560 R14,253
Online banking R64,300 R32,298
Mobile banking R4,295 R2,741

It should be noted that in the cases where the average loss per incident decreased compared to the same period last year, the number of incidents did not decrease but the overall losses did.

Pillay stressed that social engineering attacks are the biggest threat to South Africans, as criminals are aware of the high levels of security implemented at banks and would rather exploit people than these advanced systems.

“Criminals are using their social engineering tactics to manipulate people into providing them with the information they require to commit the crime,” Pillay said.

Now read: Massive increase in SIM-swop fraud in South Africa

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How much money South Africans lose to cybercrime