SABRIC acting CEO Susan Potgieter has warned South Africans of an increase in banking crime over the festive season.
Speaking at a media event in Johannesburg, Potgieter said that the holidays see a big increase in commercial activity, which also results in a big spike in criminal activity.
She also warned of an old scam which preys on elderly people that has seen a resurgence in South Africa ahead of the holidays.
This type of scam preys on elderly South Africans in an attempt to steal their savings.
Elderly people are targeted by criminals who con them into withdrawing their savings in exchange for a job.
The criminal first approaches the elderly person and tells them that their boss wants to recruit pensioners as drivers. They then ask if the elderly person has a driver’s licence and a bank account.
After this is confirmed, the criminal tells the victim that their boss needs to check their bank balance, stating that they cannot employ them if they have money in their account.
The elderly person is encouraged to draw out their money in cash to pass this check, after which they are robbed by the criminal.
Vishing and holiday scams
Many South Africa criminals also use phishing attacks to defraud victims over the holiday season.
Phishing is one of the most popular methods used to steal money from customers in South Africa at the moment, and Potgieter said that phishing is expected to become more prevalent over the festive season.
She added that SABRIC was particularly concerned about vishing attacks, where scammers call victims and pretend to represent their bank in an effort to obtain confidential information.
“We are very worried about vishing,” Potgieter said. “Criminals are posing as banks and phoning their victim to get them to disclose whatever credentials they need to steal their funds.”
She said she had received two vishing calls herself recently, and found that the style of the call was exactly the same as you would expect from a bank call centre.
“There was even music playing, like a standard bank call centre,” Potgieter said.
The best way to protect against phishing attacks is to never give out confidential information or click on links sent through SMS or email, as these can lead to phishing sites which are created to capture your login details.
Other criminal activity which is set to increase over the holidays includes the defrauding of travellers looking for last-minute bookings, the armed robbery of travellers and stokvel investors carrying large amounts of cash, and the creation of false retailers to steal funds from shoppers.