Bank-related thefts down 24% due to Covid-19 lockdowns – Sabric
Financial contact crimes such as bank-related thefts fell 24% in 2020 given movement restrictions and visible police related to Covid-19 lockdowns.
This is revealed in the latest annual report on crime statistics from the South African Banking Risk Information Center (Sabric) released on Wednesday.
However, the report noted an increase in incidents of digital banking crime, with online shopping and online payment systems becoming popular in the wake of the pandemic.
Sabric says criminals have exploited Covid-19 to enhance their efforts to scam customers to steal their personal data and defraud them on digital and online platforms.
Digital banking fraud has jumped 33%, according to the report.
“Covid-19, together with the implementation of the regulations of the Disaster Management Law, has had a notable influence on financial crime trends in 2020. It has triggered changes in human behavior, human movements and the police, creating new opportunities for criminals that have had a significant impact on the number of criminal incidents, ”Sabric said in his statement.
“While some types of crime have decreased, others have increased as criminals exploited Covid-19,” he adds.
The report also showed an increase in debit card fraud, which increased by 22%. This usually happens when a criminal accesses a customer’s debit card number and, in some cases, their personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or purchases.
Explosive automated teller machine (ATM) attacks also increased by 20%. As the report was for last year, it does not include ATMs damaged during the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July.
Read: The July unrest saw more than R119million of ‘hard cash’ stolen from banks and ATMs
Meanwhile, Sabric’s Crime Statistics report also shows a drop in crimes such as credit card fraud (-7%) and (general) ATM attacks (-9%).
Thefts of cash in transit declined significantly when the country was in lockdown Level 5 in April and May 2020, but once restrictions were lifted they increased again by 22% as criminals were able to move around with less. restrictions and fear of roadblocks and searches.
Commenting on the report and the surge in online banking crimes, Sabric CEO Nischal Mewalall said: “Your personal data, when combined with technology, has become the new key to the safe that holds your money. in a bank, you must therefore protect your data to prevent criminals from accessing your safe.
It warns that cybercrime and data breaches will pose a significant threat to customers and banks in the future, as even the best security and the best technology can now be compromised when criminals illegally seek and use legitimate data to commit a crime.
To avoid falling victim to digital bank fraud, Mewalall cautions bank customers from clicking on links in unsolicited emails as these links are used in phishing emails to lead people to unsolicited emails. “fake” websites that may look like legitimate online retailers, accompanied by attractive and compelling images. slogans.
“Criminals use these bogus websites to collect bank card details in order to make online purchases using your account. We still see a lot of scams advertising seemingly incredible offers for personal protective equipment, disinfectants and fake vaccines that exploit people’s concern for their health and safety, ”Mewalall points out.
Listen to Fifi Peters’ interview with Sabric CEO:
Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.