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Tough economic conditions fertile soil for criminals – New tactic to watch out for

The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) has warned consumers to be vigilant against rampant fraud, especially impersonations, which have increased by more than 300% as desperate criminals seek to defraud their victims in a tough economic climate.

“We are really reaching a critical point when it comes to the economy and the extreme measures that criminals will use to perpetrate fraud. The 2020 statistics that were collected by the SAFPS indicate that there are significant increases in key areas and that there is a long road ahead to address this challenge,” Manie van Schalkwyk, chief executive of SAFPS reports in The Star.

According to Van Schalkwyk fraud in the Eastern Cape increased by 161% and by 120% in Gauteng. “There were increases in every province, with the exception of Limpopo,” he said.

However, the most concerning statistic coming out of the recent SAFPS report is that impersonation fraud increased by 337%.

Van Schalkwyk explains:

“This is extremely concerning. Impersonation fraud is the act of a criminal impersonating another person by stealing their identity and then opening accounts in their name. The fraudster has details of the victim and try to take over (their) account.

The credit provider will ask the questions normally asked to the account holder. Because of data breaches, this information is available to the fraudster making it easier to take over the account.

They then take over the account and leave the victim with massive amounts of debt that they never took out in the first place.”

“We need to be proactive when it comes to managing our identities and the opportunities that are presented to fraudsters. It is imperative that consumers, and companies, protect themselves against fraud, and more and more we see the use of biometric data as the solution for the future” Van Schalkwyk concludes.

Click here to read The Star article.

Also read: Identity theft – What to do if your identity is stolen

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