Internet bank fraud affects few: Absa

A “minute” number of customers are affected by Internet banking fraud compared to the overall number of online banking users, head of digital channels and payments at Absa, Adrian Vermooten, recently told MyBroadband.

This is despite a 900% increase in cases recently reported by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC). According to SABRIC, there were under 100 incidents in 2011, but it jumped to more than 1,000 in 2012.

In his comments to MyBroadband, Vermooten suggested that this fraud was perpetrated almost entirely by fraudulent SIM swaps.

This is when criminals take over your cellphone number by doing a SIM swap, letting them receive one-time PIN SMS messages sent by your bank to authenticate transactions.

Even though he regards the proportion of customers affected by this type of fraud as low, Vermooten said it is an unacceptable number.

“There’s a lot positive energy between stakeholders to get this number down even further,” Vermooten said.

The challenge, he explained, is to do this without making the experience even more onerous for the customer.

“We’ve got to get rid of fraud, but maintain usability,” Vermooten said.

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Internet bank fraud affects few: Absa