Massive rise in mobile banking fraud in South Africa

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has released its annual crime statistics for 2018, detailing the prevalence of banking fraud in South Africa.

SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay said the organisation was concerned about increases in fraud, especially the prevalence of vishing incidents and online banking fraud.

“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,” Pillay said.

Combined gross card fraud losses in South Africa increased by 18% in 2018, reaching a total of R873,394,351, with credit card fraud increasing by 18.4% and debit card fraud increasing by 17.5%.

“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,” Pillay said,

“A bank will never call you to ask for this information. If you receive such a call, put the phone down immediately,” she said.

She added that lost or stolen debit card fraud amounted to 42.5% of all debit card fraud in 2018, and bank customers continue to fall victim to fraud at ATM’s while transacting.

Online and mobile banking fraud on the rise

SABRIC noted with great concern that incidents of fraud across online and mobile banking platforms increased by 75.3% in the last year.

“In 2018, 23,466 incidents across banking apps, online banking and mobile banking amounted to R262,826,888 in gross losses,” SABRIC said.

The number of mobile banking fraud incidents doubled over the last year, amounting to gross losses of R28,941,040, while online banking incidents increase by 37.5% with gross losses of R129,002,523.

SABRIC also found that incidents of banking app fraud also increased sharply, growing by 55.4% compared to last year.

SIM-swop fraud remained a major issue in the banking sector, with the number of reported SIM-swop fraud incidents increasing by a massive 200% in 2018.

“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 said.

“When it comes to online banking, beware of Phishing emails that request that you click on a link,” Pilay said.

“The link directs you to a ‘spoofed’ website designed to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information.”

The infographics below detail the rise on online banking and banking app fraud in South Africa.


Banking app

Banking app incidents


Online banking

Online banking fraud incidents

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Massive rise in mobile banking fraud in South Africa