The South African Banking Risk Information Centre: Safe Banking Over the Festive Season

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), on behalf of the banking industry, has launched a Safe Banking Campaign to empower bank clients with information to ensure that they bank safely over the Festive Season. As the year comes to a close, fraudsters take advantage of the fact that consumers receive bonuses, spend more money and are generally more relaxed because they are in holiday mode. SABRIC wants ensure that bank clients are empowered with information in order to protect themselves.

The Festive Season typically sees an increase in the use of online banking and card transactions and SABRIC urges bank clients to take note of the latest crime trends so that they do not become victims. Although the advent of digital technology has seen an increase in electronic banking crimes, SABRIC still urges consumers to remain aware of other modus operandi at play, such lost & stolen card fraud as well as Vishing, both of which are on the increase.

Lost & Stolen Card Fraud

Once in possession of an original card and PIN number, fraudsters are able to use the card as if they were the actual card holder. By interrupting or interfering with a bank client whilst he or she is transacting, cards are stolen, swopped, or trapped in the ATM to be retrieved later by the fraudster. PIN numbers are easily acquired by shoulder surfing, which enables a stolen card to be utilised immediately by the fraudster. Fraudsters aim to maximise the reward before the victim even realises what has transpired and can report the card as stolen. “By covering the PIN when punching the numbers, bank clients will be able to mitigate their risk even if they are the unfortunate victims of card theft” says Kalyani Pillay, CEO of SABRIC.

“Bank clients are urged not to accept any assistance or allow anybody to interrupt or interfere with them at ATM’s while transacting”, says Pillay


Although fraudsters still make use of Phishing, there has been an increase in what is known as Vishing which is the telephone equivalent. Here, a fraudster phones their victim posing as a bank official or service provider and uses social engineering skills to manipulate them into disclosing confidential information, while at the same time leading them to believe that they are speaking to the bank or service provider. This information is then used to defraud the victim.

Protect yourself from Vishing by adhering to the following:

  • Banks will never ask you to confirm your confidential information over the phone.
  • If you receive a phone call requesting confidential or personal information, do not respond and end the call.
  • If you receive an OTP on your phone without having transacted yourself, it was likely prompted by a fraudster using your personal information. Do not provide the OTP telephonically to anybody. Contact your bank immediately to alert them to the possibility that your information may have been compromised.
  • If you lose mobile connectivity under circumstances where you are usually connected, check whether you may have been the victim of a SIM swop.

To further protect yourself this Festive Season, please go to, follow @Sabric and watch out for #Skelm.