Robust moves by banks to counter crime are paying off, according to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre which recently released its annual crime stats for 2019.
“In 2019, associated robberies decreased by 2%,” said SABRIC CEO Nischal Mewalall.
An associated robbery is a violent bank-related robbery of cash or a bank card committed against a bank client en route to, or from a bank branch, ATM or cash centre to make a deposit or withdrawal.
Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape had shown the biggest decreases for these crimes. Other key statistics were:
- ATM attacks decreased by 9%. The North West, Free State, Western Cape and Gauteng accounted for the greatest decreases in incidents.
- Cash-in-transit robberies decreased by 16%. All provinces with the exception of KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State experienced incident decreases.
- Overall gross losses on card transactions in South Africa amounted to R428.6m. This was a 2% decrease when compared to the previous year.
- The counterfeiting of cards decreased by 44.8% for credit cards and 34.8% for debit cards.
“Collaboration is critical when it comes to combating organised financial crime and SABRIC is well positioned to do just that, by leveraging the collective efforts of its members and stakeholders,” Mewalall said. “These results show what’s possible.”
While some crimes were decreasing, however, business burglaries had increased by 27% and business robberies by 86%, Mewalall said.
A burglary is when premises are broken into to remove cash or any other movable property, while a business robbery is the violent removal of cash or movable property while under the control of a bank.
Digital banking fraud incidents increased by 20%.
“But it is noteworthy that gross fraud losses on banking apps increased by only 1% despite a massive drive by banks to increase the number of transactions processed on apps,” Mewalall said.
“Our banks have sound security measures in place to mitigate digital fraud. Criminals know this and therefore resort to manipulative social engineering tactics to get bank customers to inadvertently share their personal and confidential information, allowing them access to transact on customer accounts without authority.
“However, there have been no reports from our banks where a banking app was technically compromised to commit fraud,” said Mewalall.
Credit card and debit card fraud increased by 20.5%. Mewalall said this must be viewed against the growth of the credit card payment ecosystem which has seen a rise in the number of credit card transactions processed by banks, coupled with increases in the number of card holders and merchants.
‘This would have contributed to more incidents,” Mewalall said.
The leading contributor to gross card fraud losses has remained card not present fraud (CNP). This is when your card number is used fraudulently by someone else to make a purchase at a garage, for example, while the physical card is in your possession.
As much as 66.6% of all fraud on SA issued credit cards took place on merchant devices in a foreign country.
‘South African e-commerce merchants largely comply with 3D Secure whereas merchants abroad don’t use 3D Secure,” Mewalall said.
Mewalall warned that Covid-19 had had a marked impact on crime globally.
“SABRIC has already seen an increase in new scams involving personal protective equipment, fake vaccines as well as other phishing scams. In addition, amendments to grant distribution processes, the increased use of deviations in procurement processes and the availability of relief funding to businesses and employers will make South Africa even more vulnerable to corruption, armed robberies, application and procurement fraud in 2020 and beyond.”
Click HERE to access the SABRIC Annual Crime Stats 2019 publication.