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Sim swop fraud and ‘phishing’ are on the increase

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Fraudulent transactions using SIM swops in South Africa are on the increase as criminals continue to find ways to exploit digital platforms to defraud victims.

“SIM swaps saw 4040 incidents from January to August 2017 and 8254 incidents from January to August 2018, an increase of 104%,” said South African Banking Risk Information chief executive Kalyani Pillay.

Pillay said 13438 incidents had been reported across banking apps, online and mobile banking and the banking industry has lost R250 million since the beginning of the year to cybercrimes.

She said criminals could also play on the victim’s fear by pretending to be employees from their banking institutions and warning that a fraudulent transaction had been made on their accounts.

“The victim is then given the opportunity to report the fraud by clicking on a link and, in their state of panic, does so. When clicking in these phishing emails, the victim is diverted to a fraudulent website under the control of the criminal and information entered on this page, such as a banking profile username or password is sent to the criminal,” said Pillay.

Pillay said clients are compromised because of phishing, vishing and the installation of malware onto a victim’s device by having the “click on a link”, which enables criminals to steal sufficient personal information to access their online banking profile.

“Although phishing scams are not new (in the country), criminals are always finding new ways to trick consumers by taking advantage of the slickness, convenience and efficiency of digital platforms.

In one such modus operandi, the criminal sends the victim an email that purports to be from a trusted organisation that the victim has legitimate dealings with.” 

The Sunday Independent

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