SABRIC: “COVID-19 & Disaster Management Act Created Opportunities for Criminals to Commit Financial Crimes”

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The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) says COVID-19, in conjunction with the implementation of regulations of the Disaster Management Act had a notable influence on financial crime trends in 2020.

Sabric on behalf of the banking industry released its annual crime stats for 2020 on Wednesday. 

Sabric says the Coronvirus pandemic has created opportunities for criminals to commit crimes. 

 “It triggered changes in human behaviour, human movement, and policing, creating new opportunities for criminals which significantly impacted the number of crime incidents. While some crime types decreased, others increased as criminals exploited COVID-19 for their own gain.” 

The crime stats showed Digital banking fraud increased by 33%, debit card fraud by 22%, while on a positive note, credit card fraud decreased by 7%.

“While ATM attacks decreased by 9% overall, ATM explosive incidents increased by 20%. Cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies decreased significantly due to the Level 5 lockdown in April and May of 2020, but once restrictions were lifted, these increased again by 22% as criminals were able to move with fewer restrictions and fear of roadblocks and searches.” 

Sabric says robberies and burglaries also increased by 42% and 12% respectively.

Sabric  CEO Nischal Mewalall warned that looking ahead, cybercrime and data breaches will represent a significant threat to customers and banks, because even the best security and technology can be compromised when criminals source and use legitimate data illegally, to carry out a crime.

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