'Criminals can cause financial mayhem'

With tech advances, it is becoming difficult to keep personal info away from criminals.

With tech advances, it is becoming difficult to keep personal info away from criminals.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) says as technology rapidly progresses, so too does the rate of bank fraud.

The Hawks arrested seven people in the Western Cape and Gauteng for accessing statements of bank clients over the past two years.

The seven, who include former bank employees and private investigators, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court yesterday.

Sabric's Kalyani Pillay said, "This crime has been ongoing for a while and there are times when it goes up and times when it comes down. A lot of it is unfortunately dependent on how the risk is managed by the bank."

Last month, a Cape Town businessman revealed to Eyewitness News how his bank statements were sold off, allegedly by bank employees.

The businessman says he has learned some bank employees can make up to R50,000 in six months by simply selling client information to outsiders for as little as R50 a statement.

Pillay says it is becoming increasingly challenging to protect personal information from landing in the wrong hands.

She says criminals can cause financial mayhem by not only accessing online details, but also if they get their hands on discarded documents.

" It's a global problem and we have to be absolutely vigilant in how we deal with our personal information."