Credit card fraud nearly doubled to R403-million in the 2009/10 financial year, a study by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has found.
In the report, released on Tuesday, Sabric said the amount increased from R263.8-million last year as the expanding credit card market gave fraudsters more opportunities for scams.
“Credit card fraud occurred in all the provinces in South Africa although some provinces experienced more card fraud than others,” it said.
“Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape account for 92.3% of the total credit card fraud losses in South Africa — the highest number of skimming devices is also recovered in these provinces.”
Sabric chief executive Kalyani Pillay said the fraud came as banks were signing up more new customers and were providing products such as credit cards to existing customers who previously did not have access to them.
“The higher volumes of cards in the market provide more opportunities for credit card fraudsters to carry out scams,” she said.
Sabric’s report found that banks had also seen an increase in the number of cash withdrawals at ATMs using counterfeit credit cards.
About 159 handheld skimming devices were retrieved during the year, compared to 190 last year.
Another 38 ATM mounted skimming units were removed this year, compared to 36 in the 2009/10 year.
According to the report, the introduction of a dedicated police team to tackle card-related crime in Gauteng province had a significant positive impact on card fraud in the province.
“Since August 2010 the [South African Police Service] project team jointly with bank investigators and Sars [South African Revenue Service] enforcement unit affected 261 arrests and seized 3 614 exhibits,” it found. — Sapa