Digital Banking Fraud Sees a Sharp Rise During Lockdown

There has been a rapid increase in digital banking fraud in the last year, as the statistics indicate a 33% increase. The increase in digital banking fraud is due to a greater demand for online shopping, and people must be aware of how they could become victims of digital banking fraud.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) released some crime statistics on behalf of the banking industry. These statistics indicated a 7% decrease in credit card fraud; however, there was a 22% increase in debit card fraud. The crime statistics released by the SABRIC indicate that the regulations implemented under the Disaster Management Act policed human movement, which also affected human behaviour. These changes in human behaviour gave criminals new opportunities, which can be seen in the crime trends for the year. A decrease was noted for contact crime due to the restriction of movement and there being visible policing. Some of the contact crimes that showed a decline include robberies which decreased by 24% compared to the previous year. ATM attacks also showed a reduction as there was a 9% decrease. However, there was a 20% increase in ATM bombings.

With more and more customers shopping online and utilizing apps to settle their payments, criminals have created new opportunities to steal customers’ data through phishing and using digital and online platforms to defraud them. Therefore, with the internet becoming the most popular tool criminals use to commit fraud, customers must be vigilant, especially when using online channels. Below are the methods that you can follow to ensure that you do not become a victim of banking fraud.

  1. Ensure that your mobile devices and computers are up to date. By having the latest operating system, security software and web browser, you can guarantee that you receive the best defences against viruses and any other forms of online threats. In order to ensure that you always have the latest security software, you must turn on automatic updates guaranteeing that you receive the newest fixes when they become available.
  2. Setting strong passwords is one of the best defences to ensure that you are protected against digital banking fraud. A strong password should contain eight characters, including special characters and a mix of lower and uppercase characters.
  3. You should avoid and watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams involve fraudulent websites and emails that criminals can use to trick users into disclosing personal and private data, such as private accounts or login information. To avoid falling for phishing scams, you must not open any attachments, click on links, or any pop up on your screens that come from unknown or unfamiliar sources.
  4. Your internet connection could potentially put you at risk for digital banking fraud, which is why it is crucial always to use a secure internet connection. When using a home wireless network, ensure that you protect it by having a password. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks, as you should be cautious about the information you are sending out.
  5. You must be mindful of the personal information that you post on your social media profiles, as hackers can use it to figure out your passwords. In some instances, they can use that information to answer security questions used for password reset tools. Have strict privacy settings for your social media accounts and refrain from posting things such as addresses, birthdays, and mother’s maiden names. You should also be mindful about accepting requests to connect with people that you do not know.
  6. Before using a website, you should take the time to read their privacy policies. It might seem time-consuming and complex; however, privacy policies inform you how the site will protect all the personal information it collects. Refrain from using sites where they do not have a privacy policy. In the event that you do not understand their policy, then it is advised that you consider using a different website.
  7. With online shopping being the common method to fall victim to digital banking fraud, it is essential that you shop safely. Before choosing to shop online, make sure that the website uses secure technology. Once you reach the checkout screen, double-check that the web address starts with https and that the page contains a tiny locked padlock symbol.


It can be scary to use online channels to shop or make payments, especially when you know there is a chance that you might become a victim of digital banking fraud. However, there are always measures that you can follow, and the tips offered above ensure that you are protected from digital banking fraud.  

Furthermore, see How to Avoid Being a Debit Card Fraud Victim.

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