Major South African banks, Absa and Standard bank face an alleged legal battle for their conduct in handling internet fraud cases. It was reported that banking clients took legal action against the banking ombudsman and the two banks.
Standing in long queues and waiting for someone to assist you is not an appealing choice. What usually took people 3 hours now takes less than 10 minutes. Internet banking is a convenient way of handling your finances, sitting in front of the laptop or just taking out your smartphone to start paying those bills is way more desirable.
There are 20 customers who had to take both Absa and Vodacom to court in order to determine who authorised SIM swaps on cell numbers and therefore had access to the bank accounts. The customers lost between R1 million to R2 million and want the banks to be held accountable for the fraudulent action.
It has been reported that last year alone a staggering 940 cases of Internet banking-related complaints went in favour of the banks, while only 22 percent of cases of Internet fraud in South Africa was ruled in favour of the customer.
William Lawrence, regional practice lead: Fraud & Financial Crime at Statistical Analysis System (SAS) said, “The banks must employ the right checks and balances in place which include anti-fraud detection platforms and that involves technology. The reality is that with the emergence of e-commerce its easily convenient for customers to transact because we go online but unfortunately it makes it a lot easier for fraudsters. The banks need to keep abreast of the latest technologies in order to prevent attacks.”
“Fraudsters are extremely agile, they are very innovative, there are some really bright and tech savvy people that form part of these fraud syndicates and the banks need to be able to respond in an equally agile manner. Having the right technology, the right processes and the right people is important,” he says.
With all its convenience, internet banking can sometimes have negative implications especially when your account has been hacked. Customers should always be cautious when using internet banking. They need to monitor their bank accounts and always have fraud hotline contacts handy.
According to Lawrence responsibility depends on the nature of the attack. For an example in a phishing attack where the fraudsters would send an email or link to click on, the customers is to blame, because despite numerous warnings from banks and media not to access unknown emails. This shows customer negligence. Banks also need to be vigilant and prepared for attacks on the system directly. It is the responsibility of both the bank and the customer to ensure that systems are in place and that good practices are adopted.
“The banks need to understand how this very sophisticated attack occurred and how it was possible for syndicates manage to access the banks systems in order to perpetrate the fraudulent event. The important thing is for banks to assure the public that they have taken preventative measures to combat a similar attack,” he explained.
Tips to prevent potential attacks
- Avoid using public internet cafes, rather use your laptop or computer.
- Do not access emails, click on links or websites that you do not trust.
- Have a carefully constructed robust password, pick a unique combination.
- Always adopt the best approach and safe guard your online banking profile.