Card cloners empty account

2008-11-27 00:00

A journalist on The Witness’s sister newspaper, Echo, has had her savings account cleaned out — apparently after her bank card details were stolen.

Nokulunga Ngobese believes her card could have been cloned on November 9, when she attempted to withdraw money from an Absa ATM in Langalibalele Street.

After she had inserted her bank card and punched in her pin code, she realised the machine was not working and that the ATM did not notify her of this.

She said after she cancelled the transaction, her card came out slowly as if it was being held back by something. “I did not pay much attention afterwards and went to withdraw money somewhere else,” said Ngobese.

But after work on pay day on Tuesday, Ngobese went to withdraw R1 000 in Scottsville. She was surprised to receive a message informing her that she had exceeded her daily limit of R1 000.

“This startled me because I had not withdrawn any money. I moved to the next ATM and it gave me the same message. I went to an ATM in Edendale, where the same thing happened, and when I checked the balance, I discovered that R5 000 had been withdrawn. I did not pay attention to this incident because I was under the impression that my bank had made an error,” said Ngobese.

Upon checking her bank statement the following day, she discovered that an international withdrawal of R4 000 had been made at about 7 am on Tuesday, R1 000 had been withdrawn an hour later and another R1 000 was withdrawn just after midnight on Wednesday.

She also learnt that the fraudsters had earlier printed out a full statement from an ATM and this, she suspects, is how the fraudsters learnt when she gets paid.

She has reported the matter to Absa Bank and an investigation has been launched. “This has inconvenienced me as I am unable to pay my bills because I am left with no money. I advise people to be vigilant as this can happen to anyone,” said Ngobese.

Pietermaritzburg is one of the “hot spots” for card fraud, with Durban the country’s worst. The city’s “hot spot suburbs” include Scottsville, Chase Valley, Hayfields, Mountain Rise and Industrial Park.

thandom@witness.co.za

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