SABRIC, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, on behalf of the banking industry has published its annual crime stats for 2020, showing that Covid-19, in conjunction with the implementation of regulations of the Disaster Management Act had a notable influence on financial crime trends last year.

It triggered changes in human behaviour, human movement, and policing, creating new opportunities for criminals which significantly impacted the number of crime incidents.

While some crime types decreased, others increased as criminals exploited Covid-19 for their own gain. Overall, SABRIC has seen an increase in banking crime incidents.

As customers turned to online shopping and settling payments on apps, criminals enhanced their efforts to phish customers to steal their personal data to defraud them on digital and online platforms.

Online banking and mobile banking

Fraud on the online channel makes up the smallest portion of incidents of Digital Banking Crime, accounting for 11.1% of reported incidents, however, it accounts for the highest portion (45.1%) of gross losses, SABRIC noted.

Phishing makes use of emails to trick the victim into entering their login credentials by directing them to a “spoofed” website that is designed to look legitimate. Vishing, which has been reported to have significantly increased during 2020, involves criminals making telephone calls to potential victims, purporting to be from the bank and convincing them to compromise their…

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