Your Personal Information and Internet Banking Fraud
The Ombudsman for Banking Services of South Africa (Ombud) reported that for the first time in 2017 internet banking fraud was the category of crime that was most prevalent of the disputes that the Ombud has been requested to deal with. No less than 1377 internet banking complaints were closed by the Ombud in 2017. It is clear that significantly more citizens are victims of internet banking fraud as not all of the matters have been referred to the Ombud.
I had 34 matters referred to me by 2 computer experts who felt that the clients had been badly treated by the banks. Of these 5 related to other banks and all of these have been settled for the full capital sum. The remaining 29 are all Absa clients. An examination of the facts behind these matters and the significant loss to people who can not afford to lose the amounts of money that have been lost is heartrending. The media have approached me in this regard and I refer you to articles which have been published relating to these losses.
I have also been invited to address radio programmes and I provide to you a link of a podcast of one of the radio programmes should you be interested in listening to this.
- http://cliffcentral.com/podcasts/the-laws-of-life/ (Date 17 July 2018)
The question is why are South Africans so vulnerable to these attacks. One of the answers to the question is that our personal information has been badly exposed. Among the most prominent examples are the Liberty Life hack, ViewFines (approximately 1 million records of personal information exposed), the hacks exposing the records of 30 million South Africans last year.
The Information Regulator has quite correctly called for investigations into these hacks. Unfortunately, however, it does not appear that anything has really come of these investigations. It must also be questioned whether the Information Regulator, given the paltry appropriation that was made for its establishment, is in a position to properly assess the more technical issues that these hacks may present. When this matter was discussed in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee prior to the Bill being enacted, it was contemplated that sufficient funding would be made available to ensure that the appropriate expertise was available. Whether this is the case given the Department of Justice’s apparent disregard for the protection of personal information of South Africans remains doubtful.
The bottom line is cybercrime will thrive in South Africa because there is inadequate law and even in instances where the law is adequate, the ability to enforce the law through appropriate government agencies is almost non-existent. South Africans need to be aware of the risk to the compromise of their personal information and how this may be used to commit frauds that will result in loss to them.
©Mark Heyink 2018