Sabric: Criminals targeting mobile devices to defraud people

Sabric said it saw an emerging trend where smart phones are being snatched from owners in order to gain access to their bank accounts.

FILE: Sabric said while mobile phones were a convenient way to stay connected, they were equal to a bank card and could even act as a gateway to your account. Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Consumers are being warned to protect their mobile devices as criminals intensify their efforts to try and defraud victims.

On Thursday, South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said it saw an emerging trend where smart phones were being snatched from owners in order to gain access to their bank accounts.

Recent stats released by Sabric have revealed digital banking fraud increased by 33% in 2020 as more people moved to online due the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Consumers warned of phone theft trend criminals use to access confidential info

The easing of lockdown restrictions in the country has not only seen an increase in the movement of people especially at shopping malls across the country, but has resulted in an increase in banking crimes.

Some people who have already become victims of mall crime syndicates have taken to social media to warn others after their cell phones were stolen and their bank apps used to access their accounts.

Sabric said while mobile phones were a convenient way to stay connected, they were equal to a bank card and could even act as a gateway to your account.

“Technology has made it easier to transact but it's also created opportunities that criminals exploit for their own gain,” spokesperson Louise van der Merwe said.

Consumers were urged to remain vigilant and take mobile security very seriously as smart phones store confidential information that can be used to commit a crime.

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