The annual impact of global fraud exceeds $1-trillion: enough to end poverty around the world; enough to fund cancer research and treatment over 40 years; and enough to supply water to unserved communities around the world, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
Meanwhile, a report on fraud statistics in South Africa, issued by the South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS)for the year 2017/2018 shows a saving of over R2-billion for SAFPS member businesses in South Africa. The statistics are based on listed fraud cases on the SAFPS database which records various types of fraud incidents.
The fraud statistics show increases in most types of fraud with a few exceptions.
“These trends impact not only the cost of doing business, but the cost of daily living for the man in the street who can end up being liable for debts they did not incur or being defrauded of their hard earned income,” says Manie van Schalkwyk, executive director, SAFPS.
There is a downward trend of 34% where fraudsters fabricate ID numbers and or names. In sharp contrast are cases of impersonation where fraudsters use legitimate information from consumers, which has increased by 101% in 2018.
This increase runs parallel to the escalating rate in the previous period (2016/2017) which showed an increase of 89%.
Employment fraud remains rife with cases of false employment histories increasing by 16%. Also in this category, the report shows the highest number of incidents in forged payslips at 17%, while the number of non-existing employers increased by 16%.
Cases where fraudsters used a combination of fraudulent documentation increased by 47% also following the trend of the year prior, where an increase of 46% was recorded.
However, the number of cases where candidates attempted to get away with providing false qualifications declined by 5%.
Fraud listing have increased by 26,5 %. Perpetrators are mostly male and are in the age group 36 to 45, while victims of impersonation have increased by almost 25% and victims of fraud are also mostly male.
Other good news is that growth in the number of Protective Registration records on the SAFPS database increased by almost 29%. The highest category of people to register are men in the age group 36 to 45 followed by the age group 26 to 35, also male. Protective Registration is a preventative measure where individuals can list their ID numbers on the SAFPS database for verification each time the ID number is used to apply for credit.
“Growth in this area is due to our activities to increase consumer awareness in the media and through our website.
“Today’s criminals are more streetwise, more tech savvy and sophisticated than ever before, with some fraud activities affecting multiple sectors and a cross section of transactions both for business and the consumer,” says Van Schalkwyk.
“Potential victims”, he says “are not just retailers but all members of the public, small businesses, large corporates and especially banks. Not only is every business entity at risk of fraud, so too is every active consumer. ”
“While victims are urged to safeguard themselves by applying for Protective Registration at the South African Fraud Prevention Service, businesses are encouraged to share data with SAFPS. This will enable SAFPS to expand and improve its data base and better serve the collaborative effort to combat crime.”
Consumers who are victims of identity theft or consumers who have lost their identity documents can contact SAFPS for a free protection service. SMS the word “ProtectID” to the number 43366
ü Keep documents like pay slips, proof of addresses safe.
ü Treat your ID like cash (be careful who you give it to) and immediately report lost or stolen IDs
ü Do not disclose personal information on social media and other platforms
ü Checking your credit report with credit bureaux regularly
ü Shred or burn old documents