SA Banking Industry Releases Crime Fraud Statistics

The banking industry is pleased to announce that debit card fraud losses have decreased by 42% for the period 1 January- 30 September 2013. This is according to the latest banking industry’s card crime statistics as released by SABRIC (The South African Banking Risk Information Centre).

This figure is significantly lower when compared to the previous year (2012) which saw the industry loosing R204m to debit card fraud. This year, the debit card gross fraud losses amounted to R117.7m. SABRIC CEO, Kalyani Pillay said the decrease can be attributed to changes in the business processes and systems in the banks as well the ongoing collaborative efforts between the industry and law enforcement. However the banking industry still calls on customers to be vigilant when transacting. The industry is however concerned about the increase in credit card fraud. Credit card fraud losses have increased by 22% from R300.6m in 2012 to R366.8m in 2013.

Card Not Present (CNP) fraud which is a major loss category, increased by 16% during the same period, from R154.7m in 2012 to R178.7m in 2013. The statistics have indicated that most credit card fraud losses occurred outside the borders of South Africa for the period under review.

In 2012, 45% of credit card fraud losses occurred outside the borders of South Africa. This figure has increased to 60.1% for the period under review. Credit card fraud losses on South Africa issued credit cards used inside South Africa decreased by 11.4% in 2013. Counterfeit card fraud remains high. “Criminals are progressively using counterfeit South African issued credit cards in neighbouring countries such as Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique and these transactions are mostly related to fraudulent cash withdrawals at ATMs”, said Pillay.

When it comes to international trends, South Africa mirrors the United Kingdom in terms of card fraud with increases in CNP, Counterfeit and Lost and/or Stolen card fraud. The prevalence of card skimming incidents in South Africa is still very high and a significant portion of the fraud losses can still be linked to Counterfeit card fraud. In the UK, criminals are now reverting back to more basic frauds such as stealing cards and PINs through shoulder surfing and card swopping at ATMs similar to the modus operandi seen in South Africa.

The banking industry and SABRIC will continue working closely with law enforcement and other industry stakeholders towards decreasing card fraud.