Older people falling victim to cybercrime

Older people are increasingly falling prey to SIM swap scams. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Older people are increasingly falling prey to SIM swap scams.

Not so tech-savvy, they make easy victims.

A 2018 report from the banking ombudsman, released recently, shows a three-percent increase in complaints about internet and banking fraud, with the most coming from people over 40.

Last December, Sister Biddy Rose was swindled out of thousands of rand in the nunnery account she managed.

The 75-year-old’s misery began when she couldn't get a signal on her cellphone.

When she finally got a new SIM card, she got the shock of her life.

“On the Friday at lunchtime I do the internet banking for the community,” Rose said.

“It was the middle of December I thought I better pay some accounts.

“I opened my internet banking and I saw the amount of R369,000 had gone out the account I nearly died."

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While Standard Bank has denied liability, it launched an investigation, which revealed the alleged fraudster had used Biddy’s credentials.

Cyber-criminal expert Wayne Olsen says the elderly are soft targets and there needs to be more accountability from services providers.

“I think in this incidence, there doesn’t need to be some ownership and accountability from both banks and as well as the mobile operators,” Olsen said.

“They need to look internally at the potential rogue individuals inside the organizations.”

While there is no law in South Africa for banks to disclose information about cyber attacks, a 2014 McAfee report said cybercrime costs the country more than R5.8-billion a year.