In today’s day and age, we no longer have to stand in a bank queue to move our money from place to place. We can manage our funds propped up in bed on our smartphone. Unfortunately for us, cyber hackers are using this technology to move our money out of our accounts and into theirs. Let’s take a look at bank fraud in South Africa and some preventative tips.
By now, a lot of us are aware of fake corporate e-mails being sent to us, the “Dear Client”, and dodgy sentence construction are giveaways, and generally South Africans are on high alert at ATMs. But now we have a new threat that there is virtually nothing we can do to stop someone reaching into our bank accounts and helping themselves. There are many cases of people who have come forward saying that they have had thousands and even hundreds of thousands, wiped off their accounts, despite not having compromised their internet banking passwords.
Banks continue to insist that victims must have jeopardized their details somehow and deny responsibility while refusing to provide proof of the victim’s culpability. If they do refund the victim, it’s usually half of the loss as a “goodwill gesture”, on condition the victim signs a confidentiality agreement. On the other hand, cellphone companies say that fraudsters steal your money with the help of a fraudulent SIM swap. This way the thief receives the one-time-password but the fraud would not have been possible without the account details and PIN being compromised in the first place.
On the 3rd of October, fraudsters signed into a Durban North ladies business bank account and created 20 new beneficiaries, the fraudsters then did a SIM swap of her Vodacom cellphone number, they made 19 payments which totaled almost R185 000. The bank managed to recover R35 000, leaving her with about a R150 000 loss.
In August this year, a SIM swap was made on a Vodacom business account cellphone number where a fraudster logged onto a ladies bank account and made payments totaling R40 000. Responding, Standard Bank said each fraud case was considered on its merits and victims were encouraged to use the Banking Services Ombud as an independent arbitrator should they not agree with the outcome of the investigation.