South Africa is in the middle of one of the most trying times in the country’s history.

Unemployment was on the rise which will only worsen in the aftermath of the current situation. In addition, tensions are boiling over turning into violent acts and destruction which are currently disrupting society.

This includes bank ATMs and bank branches.

“During these trying times, we are urging all banking clients to keep calm and to be aware that the violence will be causing some disruption to normal branch services,” says Reana Steyn, the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS).

“In addition to all the other challenges facing consumers, fraudsters will be more motivated than ever to take advantage of the current crises that is gripping the country. We need to be extra vigilant during these times.”

Online migration
Many banks have announced that there will be disruptions to their branch services. Some branches, particularly in malls which are being targeted by looters and rioters, have been closed to the public until further notice. Others have even been destroyed along with associated infrastructure.

This will force a lot of people to shift to online transactions. This will also see a shift in fraud with scammers taking advantage of the desperation currently gripping the country.

“The move to online transactions and mobile banking will prove to be challenging for some people as it may be the first time that they ever transact with their bank in this manner,” says Steyn.

She adds that fraud continues to pose a real threat to the financial wellbeing of our society. Banking customers continue to be tricked into divulging personal information such internet banking credentials as well as card information. This enables fraudsters to conduct fraudulent transactions where cards do not have to be present.

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