Phishing: local bank clients hit

2013-01-29 00:00

NEVER reveal personal banking information, especially your PIN, to people who contact you for that kind of information.

That’s the warning from police following the resurrection of an Internet banking scam.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said a number of local people had recently become victims of the scam.

Jeevan said that under no circumstances would banks ask any of their clients for their cellphone PIN or banking PIN numbers.

“Do not be pressurised by any caller to divulge this type of information,” she said.

Linda Madiya, of Cato Ridge, is a recent victim of such a scam. He said he went to African Bank to get a loan to register his daughter at a college.

“When the money was cleared, I received an SMS informing me that an official from Capitec Bank where I do my banking would call to update my personal information,” he said.

A person claiming to be from Capitec Bank called him.

“This guy seemed to know a lot about my personal banking details and I ended up giving him my PIN code as he asked,” he said.

After he had spoken to him his phone froze.

“I realised that R6 239,11 was missing only when I wanted to withdraw the money and found there was a zero balance in my account,” he said.

He said his child would miss out on her chance to study this year because he has no money.

Gcina Zondi, of Sobantu, said she fell prey to con artists on December 6 and 7 last year.

“They first withdrew R11 000 and I went to the bank to report the matter, but the following day they took R6 000 from my account,” she said.

She said Capitec Bank repaid her only R6 000 because she had reported the matter, but refused to pay her the R11 000 that had been stolen from her account.

Zondi said: “I suspect that this is an inside job because it seems to affect people who had loans with the African Bank who do their banking with Capitec Bank like me.”

Zondi said she also received an SMS and then a call.

“The guy claiming to be from Capitec Bank told me he had all my personal information and just wanted me to give him three contact numbers in my cellphone so that he could update my details,” she said.

Her daughter will also miss studying at a tertiary institution this year because she now has no money.

The chief executive of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), Kalyani Pillay, said Internet banking crime scams were prevalent in most parts of the world.

“Perpetrators of these scams devise various means to obtain the personal banking information of their targeted victims such as bank account numbers, Internet banking passwords, PINs and Internet banking log-on details to defraud the unsuspecting victim,” she said.

She said e-mails sent to banking customers purporting to be from their banks are the most common means by which perpetrators dupe their victims into divulging their personal information.

This method is commonly called phishing.

She urged bank clients never to divulge their personal banking information.

Tami Sokutu, an executive who deals with risk at African Bank, said the bank was aware of this industry-wide problem.

“We are a member of Sabric, and the head of our forensics team has a seat on Sabric steering committee.”

Sokutu said they had been trying to uncover the fraudsters in this particular scam with Sabric and the assistance of the police.

Capitec Bank spokesperson Sharl Nel said no bank would ever ask a person to reveal their personal information.

“As soon as someone asks you for your PIN you must know it’s fraud,” he said.

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