A new wave of fraud is targeting bank customers and the number of people falling victim to the scammers is increasing too, the ombud for banking services said in a consumer alert on Friday.
Banking fraud has become a very lucrative business for online scammers, said ombud Reana Steyn.
The banking fraud matters investigated by her office in 2021 alone — the amounts claimed as losses by the victims of the various types of banking scams — exceeded R295m.
“This is an extremely worrying trend, especially when considering that these funds are mostly lost by individuals and small businesses who, in the majority of cases, are not in a financial position to suffer any kind of financial setback. In addition to the negative effects of Covid-19 on finances, most of these victims will sadly never be able to recover from these financial losses,” said Steyn.
The ombud said in most of these cases, the amounts that were claimed were not recovered as they had already been withdrawn by the fraudsters.
She said the losses were largely due to the victims falling hook line and sinker to typical and well-publicised scams.
According to the OBS’ 2021 records, the ombud received and investigated over 2,880 banking fraud-related cases.
This was a significant increase of 7.5% from the fraud cases that were investigated in 2020.
Most of these matters were due to bank customers falling victim to internet banking fraud, credit card fraud, current account fraud, and ATM card swap scams.