ATM attacks and digital banking fraud are on the rise in South Africa

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South Africa is facing mounting challenges in its battle against banking and financial crimes, as the country witnessed an alarming rise in ATM explosive attacks and digital banking fraud last year, according to a report published online on Monday.

The annual crime statistics report for 2022, released by the South African Banking Risk Information Center (SABRIC), shed light on the multifaceted landscape of financial fraud and security challenges in the banking industry of the country, providing a stark overview of the situation.

One of the most disturbing findings in the report was the alarming surge in ATM explosive attacks, which increased by 23 per cent in 2022. Another concerning trend was the 36 per cent surge in reported incidents of online banking fraud in 2022.

Fraudsters employed a range of tactics, said the report, including social engineering and “vishing” scams — often referred to as voice phishing, where cybercriminals use phone calls to steal personal sensitive information from victims.

Card fraud, encompassing debit and credit cards, decreased by 18.4 percent overall. Additionally, card-not-present fraud, despite having the highest fraud values, saw fewer incidents in 2022.

In a media statement issued Tuesday on its website, SABRIC said “these criminal activities cast a long shadow over the nation’s economy, society, and governance.”

The statement emphasized the urgency of the situation, calling for collaboration among government entities, the private sector, and civil society to effectively combat financial crimes.

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