Former Department of Labour employee sentenced on 15 counts of Fraud / image via

Card fraud cost South Africans nearly R900 million in 2018

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has revealed an 18% increase in combined card fraud last year.


Former Department of Labour employee sentenced on 15 counts of Fraud / image via

A report from the SABRIC, on behalf of the banking industry, has shown a dramatic increase in card fraud in 2018.

Card fraud increasing

Combined card fraud losses in South Africa rose by 18% in 2018 to reach a quite staggering total of R873 394 351.

“We are concerned about some of the increases, which clearly reflect that criminals will take every opportunity to get their hands on bank customers’ money,” said SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay.

The biggest culprit for both debit and credit cards was card not present (CNP) fraud. Credit card CNP fraud accounts for just short of 80% of all losses, while CNP fraud for debit cards increased by 62.3%.

“We have seen a sharp increase in vishing incidents, where criminals phone bank customers, lead them to believe that they are speaking to the bank or a legitimate service provider and use social engineering tactics to manipulate them into disclosing their confidential bank card details, as well as other personal information,” Pillay said.

“A bank will never call you to ask for this information. If you receive such a call, put the phone down immediately.”

Lost or stolen cards accounted for 42.5% of all debit card fraud losses and there were 23 466 reported incidents on banking apps, online banking or mobile banking.

Cash in transit heists decrease

It was not all bad news, though. Cash in transit heists showed an encouraging 22% decrease in 2018 from 376 to 292, which resulted in a similar decrease in cash losses to this type of crime.

“To have any significant impact on the fight against all of these crimes, the collective efforts of banks, bank customers and law enforcement are imperative,” Pillay added.

You can view the SABRIC Annual Crime Stats 2018 publication in its entirety by clicking here.