Account empty after sim swop

2013-07-17 00:00

A FEW minutes on the phone with what he thought was a “bank consultant” has cost a Pietermaritzburg man more than R7 000.

The man is the latest victim of fraudsters who call unsuspecting customers requesting personal information on the pretext of updating their account details.

The cons claim they work for banking institutions.

So rife is the crime in Pietermaritzburg that police yesterday issued a warning to residents to be aware of the method used by the criminals.

The unlucky bank client was duped out of R7 280 — and R6 000 of that was part of a loan he had just acquired from his bank.

The visibly distraught man agreed to be interviewed on condition that his identity was not revealed.

He said his ordeal began last Wednesday when he went to African Bank to borrow R10 000 that he wanted to use to obtain his driver’s licence.

He transferred R6 000 to his Capitec bank account and left the remainder in his African Bank account.

The money was deposited as planned on Thursday.

“On Thursday I received an SMS claiming it was from Capitec Bank, saying a consultant would call me to update my contact information.

“Later that afternoon, I received a call from someone who claimed he was a consultant at Capitec Bank and asked me personal information, including my ID number and accounts.

“I did not think it was a scam because that person had information that made me believe that he was from the bank. The same person called again on Friday to verify that the details I had given were correct.”

He said on Friday night, he noticed that his phone had suddenly lost its signal and stopped operating.

“I went to my service provider on Saturday to sort the issue and I was told I had done a sim swop on Friday. This was not possible because I was working.” He said the consultants there told him the sim swop may have been fraudulently done.

“I got worried and I called my bank to find out if my money was still there.

“They told me there had been two transactions, one for R5 000 and another for R2 800. My money was gone. They took even the R1 000 I had saved; the only money they did not get was the R4 000 that I had left in my account at African Bank.”

The fraud has not only left him with a mountain of debt, it has also crushed his dream. “I had planned to invest the money in myself by improving my education and getting a driver’s licence, but now all that has ended, I don’t know what to do.”

The man, who has laid a complaint with the police, said the matter was being investigated and he would know the outcome in the next 10 days. He said he was still responsible for the loan and would have to make repayments of R900 per month.

The incident comes as police warned Pietermaritzburg residents to safeguard their banking information.

Capitec Bank’s Charl Nel said last night he could only comment once briefed on the details of the client.

A spokersperson for African Bank could not be contacted despite several attempts by The Witness last night.

Police note increase

POLICE said there had been a noted increase in Pietermaritzburg in fraud cases, whereby bank account holders are being defrauded of cash.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said often the account holder receives an SMS and/or telephone call from a person (fraudster) allegedly representing a banking institution.

“The fraudster then requests that the account holder update their personal information,” she said.

“The account holder unknowingly supplies the fraudster with all the required information.

“The fraudster then transfers the entire account holder’s money into another account, thereby defrauding the victim of all his money”.

She said over the past few months, there had been several cases of fraud reported amounting to several thousands of rand.

What is phishing?

PHISHING is a method of deceitfully obtaining personal information such as passwords, identity numbers and credit card details, by sending

e-mails that look like they come from trusted sources, such as banks or legitimate companies.

Typically, phishing e-mails request that users click on a link in the e-mail that will direct users to a spoofed website — a site designed to fool users into thinking it is legitimate — to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information.

This spoofed website will look almost exactly like a legitimate website of a well-known financial institution. Phishing e-mails, which are a form of spam, are typically sent by the thousands to

consumer e-mail accounts. The bad guys hope they can trick recipients into disclosing their personal information in bogus online forms on the phony websites.

It only takes a few duped individuals to make phishing a profitable business for cyber criminals.

Sourced from Sabric website

CEO also a victim

SUSAN Potgieter, general manager: commercial crime office at the South African Banking Risk Identification Centre, said criminals were continuously devising tricks to get victims to disclose personal details.

She said banks would not ask their customers to confirm their usernames, passwords or PIN numbers either telephonically, by SMS or by

e-mail. She said if a member of the public receives such a request, they can be very sure they are speaking to a fraudster.

If a victim realises that personal information has been divulged, it is best to immediately change passwords and PIN numbers before criminals get the opportunity to use them.

“It is also important to contact your bank immediately so they can assist you with further risk

mitigation measures appropriate to the circumstances” said Potgieter.

Banks never ask a pin

IN April this year, Media24’s CEO Esmaré Weideman became a victim of a SIM swop syndicate when she was robbed of R360 000 after an amount of R1,5 million was transferred from

Weideman’s home loan to her cheque account.

Before Absa could freeze her account, smaller amounts totalling R360 000 were transferred to an account in the name of “Badiba Madiba”.

In October last year, Maritzburg United kit

manager Zola Luthuli was also a victim of a sim swop, and someone used his sim card to send

messages requesting money to his wife, who lived in Cape Town.

“The con artist asked his wife to transfer R100 airtime to my phone, when they requested more money, she became suspicious,” Luthulo said.

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