Beware of fraudsters stealing money from your bank account

2019-04-17 06:02

BANK clients are warned about the ongoing scam involving companies making unauthorised debit orders on people’s accounts.

In a recent incident, a local resident who wished to remain anonymous received an SMS notification alerting him about a debit order that was made on his account.

The victim said an amount close to R150 was debited from his account without him authorising the transaction. Prior to this, he had received a phone call from an unknown cellphone company convincing him to sign a contract phone. Thereafter the victim received an SMS from the bank alerting him about a debit order that went off the account.

Marketing and PR manager at the Ombudsman for Banking Services, Uzile Gugushe, advised people to check their bank statements on a regular basis.

“It is known that in many cases, when bank customers request the unauthorised debit order to be blocked by the bank, the fraudsters debit the bank account again with either a different amount or a different reference number. We advise bank customers to view their bank statements on a regular basis so that they may be able to detect any irregularities on their bank account and immediately report and resolve it with their bank,” Gugushe said.

Gugushe said in many cases it seems the information is obtained in a legitimate manner, such as by a service provider during purchasing, and it is then used by fraudsters who may be employees.

“The information may have been obtained through hacking. Point to note is that consumer’s information is often available at different providers and on different platforms, and it is difficult to pinpoint where or when the breach took place.

“The first thing that bank customers should do is to immediately contact their bank and dispute the unauthorised debit order. This entails advising the bank staff that they did not give consent for the debit order, and they should then request a reversal.

“It is very important to do this very soon after the debit order went off the account. Consumers should therefore check their statements regularly and set up notifications to alert them of all payments that are going off their accounts. This way it should not go undetected for long,” Gugushe said.

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