No justice for 'clone' card con

2011-12-05 10:47

Pietermaritzburg - Mac Anamourlis had his credit card safely in his wallet, but an SMS told him that an airline ticket had been purchased on the card.

He immediately queried this transaction with his bank, Nedbank, which told him it must have been an error.

But the next day they confirmed that someone had been using his credit card or a “cloned” card.

Anamourlis, an IT specialist, decided to investigate. He said: “I suspected they had skimmed my card or cloned it. There was a delay between the SMS and when the amount reflected on my account.”

He managed to trace the reference number of the airline ticket that was purchased and discovered a few details. The flight was booked from Cape Town to Durban for three people. It was for three days ahead, giving police and airline authorities plenty of time to apprehend the suspects. He also had the name of the purchaser (the thief) and the exact date and time of the tickets and the flight number.

A second false transaction was made for plane tickets on Kulula airline, but unfortunately no information was available. Anamourlis cancelled his credit card and was issued with a new card.


He immediately passed the information to 1time airline staff and to the bank’s fraud department. He supplied the name of the thief and the reference number.

“I told them they were in possession of tickets bought with stolen money.

“I was really excited, because I felt that justice was finally going to happen. You hear crime all the time and here was an opportunity to actually do something.

“I was not really worried about the money because I knew the bank would have to refund me. I wanted the criminals busted.

“I chatted to my friends and we wanted to go to the airport to watch the whole thing go down. But we are in Gauteng so we waited for news from the airline. When I phoned to ask what happened, they told me the criminals had used the tickets - but not to worry they would pay me my money.”

Anamourlis was furious. “What is the point of trying to fight crime, when no one gives a damn about catching criminals? Those crooks will carry on stealing from others and the airlines and banks will just shrug and say don’t worry we’ll refund you. That’s not the point!”

He also wanted to know how they could have boarded the flight unless they had a fake identity document.

1time could not be reached for comment, but an airline staffer who did not want to be named said they did not handle ticket fraud and it was usually a police matter.

-  Have you had a similar experience? Send us your story

  • Go - 2011-12-05 10:56

    Flippen pathetic, typical of these airlines !!! As long as they have the money, they dont give a damn about anything else.

      Chrono - 2011-12-05 11:34

      No wonder crime stats are what they are.

      Wollie - 2011-12-05 12:28

      Yeah, and what if these people turned out to be terrorist who wanted to hijack the plane and use it as a weapon? This poor guy would most likely also have been arrested as a conspiritor :-)

      Adam - 2011-12-05 16:13

      Two years ago I arrived back in New York and checked into a hotel. My credit card was declined. I knew there was a problem as the limit on it was high. The next day I find out it was cloned and within 48 hours, the thug had racked up R51 230 worth of debt on it. I figured out it was cloned at a restaurant, the one place I used it. I called my credit card company, got a statement emailed. He shopped for booze, clothes, KFC, eyewear store, gas station, hotel and a night club. I knew the gas station, clothes store and hotel would have camera’s. So with the aid of the online phonebook and skype I called the stores and told them the date and amount and for them to look at their receipts, find the time stamp and roll back the video cameras. I said I would call back the next day. When I called the gas station, they said 20 mins after they viewed the footage, the cashier recognized the guy coming back in the store to buy again. They locked him in the store and called the cops. He has 14 cloned cars on him. I gave the Fraud Division a statement but never heard more. I made sure the cop told him that I sat 12 000 miles away with a phonebook, card statement and skype and brought the bugger down. Try it but act fast once you know you have been scammed.

  • George - 2011-12-05 11:02

    Big bisiness always stick together and they will claim back the mony from there insurance company. BUT who owns the insurance companys , mainly the banks, Another excuse to increase banking charges because insurance has increased. Banks make more money and guess who loses, US again

  • luvuyod - 2011-12-05 11:07

    Yep slit the throut like that line

      JustMe - 2011-12-05 11:18

      ...and then it was removed...

      VOVO247 - 2011-12-05 11:29

      Yeah, well, this is exactly the problem, my comment gets removed as it was probably "violent" or "insensitive.." well, thats exactly the attitude that allows these guys to operate without any fear

  • adrian.jardin - 2011-12-05 11:07

    I wonder if the cloned card was one of the newer types with a chip that requires a PIN ?

      Gregory - 2011-12-06 08:06

      I went into a shop the other day and handed by 'chip' Credit Card to the Cashier. Suddenly an Approved slip printed and I was asked to sign. I had not been asked to enter my Pin. The Manager of the Store's response - 'when it's very busy, like now, we just bypass that 'option''!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Huh! Absa - 'yes, it can be done when necessary'. What is the point?

  • Marion - 2011-12-05 11:07

    A perfect example of having to do the legwork yourself if you want to catch the perpetrator of a crime in SA! There is absolutely no excuse for 1time not arranging to apprehend the criminals (plenty of airport security isn't there?) or for Nedbank's fraud department not demanding initiating an arrest through the SAPS.

      JustMe - 2011-12-05 11:20

      I agree! Nedbank's fraud department should have taken the lead on this. However, 1time was also aware of what's going on and did nothing. What both these companies are showing is that they condone crime.

      MoAfrika - 2011-12-05 11:34

      the man himself did all it takes, all they had to do is to make sure tha SAPS is there for arrests. But what stopped the SAPS to finish off this...jerr...Now I think the whole country have illegal deals hence Selebi doesnt see the need to go to jail. He knows very well that he did business with Nedbank and Airlines and him being the former police chief, they also fit in well perfectly...

  • Joe - 2011-12-05 11:13


  • Larry - 2011-12-05 11:18

    Just another case of incompetent inefficiency, from people who just do not care.

  • pieter.erwee - 2011-12-05 11:25

    Same happend to me and nothing came of it...kulula wouldnt give me criminals info.Same with with products bought from me

  • Malcolm - 2011-12-05 11:27

    I had a similar thing when my card was skimmed. I was pretty sure I knew exactly which restaurant it happened at, but they were not even interested. (Different bank in my case) It is easier for them to just claim from insurance, I guess they really just don't care, sad but true.

  • Marco - 2011-12-05 11:29

    but that would be like hard work. I mean I'd have to get out of my chair and like actually do something. You can't be serious...

  • tag11 - 2011-12-05 11:32

    The card was NOT a chip & pin credit card, but even if it was, the chip&pin process is bypassed for on-line transactions. I did receive a phone call from a senior executive at 1Time this morning, I've posted about it here:

      bvniekerk - 2011-12-05 11:55

      But, you can not clone a Chip & pin card

      Malcolm - 2011-12-05 12:08

      @bvniekerk - The magnetic strip on a Chip & pin card can still be cloned just fine - as all machines still accept magnetic cards with no chip this effectively means that the chip doesn't help at all - its just hand waving and magic. - Educate yourself, chip is an improvement but not as large an improvement as is being made out and certainly not the end of credit card fraud.

  • Rohin - 2011-12-05 11:39

    that is totally f#$!'d up. Give your story as much air time as possible. Lead SA , Crime Line - etc. Maybe with enough pressure they will go after them in hindsight.

  • glenda.renney - 2011-12-05 11:40

    I had a similar incident on the 23rd of Nov - I woke up to find 2 in-contact messages at 6:30 am, and I only get these messagess if I have bought something with my card or if I log on to the banks web-page. I saw that R7175.38 had been deducted for "online shopping" the night before. I checked that my card was in my purse and called the number on my card to cancel it. I made arrangements to be at the bank at 9am to destroy my card and apply for a new one. The payment had gone through and they could not cancel the order as it was an internet purchase. There was another in-contact sms that was declined as the amount was nearly R250 000 - when the lady assisting told me it was for 8 watches I decided I was going to make a point of "doing my own bit of investigating too". I phoned Switzerland and had a chat to a guy called Dan, who gave me all the details used for the order- the IP address, the telephone number (which was answered by an African woman), the delivery address in Bez Valley, as well as a "fake" e-mail address. I have passed everything onto the banks fraud department and hope that they take the information that I have given them to catch these crooks. We work damn hard for our money - and who the hell gives them the right to violate our privacy and steal from us? Long story short, I have been re-imbursed, had excellent service from the banks and from the TOPSHOP in the UK. I hope that the Fraud dept have taken my leads and used them to their advantage :-)

      Foc - 2011-12-05 11:50

      Glenda I had similar experience a few years ago... I could identify the waiter that cloned my card ... but the bank was too useless to follow up!! Their attitude was 'you get your money back so why do you worry about the thief'?? I was livid that they dont care to catch the thief as all their losses are covered under insurance ... it was ABSA btw

  • VOVO247 - 2011-12-05 11:43

    Dear news24... Why was my previous comment regarding teh same experience removed? bunch of overly liberal numbskulls, can we not voice a honest feeling & opinion as reflected by almost all south africans of all races & genders regarding crime??? WTF?

  • Gollum - 2011-12-05 11:44

    I had money in 2 Nedbank accounts and when I was overseas for a while Nedbank froze\deactivated (or whatever they call it) both accounts due to inactivity (not for lack of funds). I called them and tried to get things sorted out...spoke to 33 people, finally one said they'd move the funds into 1 account. When they transferred the funds the cash appeared short. Tried to get them to give me a detailed printout of the 3 mystery transactions that reduced my funds but they couldn't or wouldn't because the account was now closed and I was far away. I lodged a complaint on Hellopeter and despite some chap err..."helping" the service was disgusting and we got nowhere. I'd recommend nobody bank with them, they're useless.

      Pierre - 2011-12-05 12:55

      Agree Nedbank sucks big time

      Zion - 2011-12-05 13:32

      Nedbank has been voted the bank of the year. I THINK NOT.

      Povo - 2011-12-06 14:25

      They are all as bad as each other - wunch of bankers!

  • Morne - 2011-12-05 11:45

    A bit pathetic from the Bank really. However note the following if you are a credit card holder. You can reverse or charge bank any fraudulent transaction on your card for a period of 180 days from the date of transaction. If the merchant (person or company who accepted the card) cannot prove you made the transaction or signed for it (bank has your signature on file) your money has to be refunded to you. It is the online merchants responsibility to ensure sufficient security measures are in place to prevent fraud.

      Morne - 2011-12-05 11:46

      Charge bank should read charge back.

  • Vivian - 2011-12-05 11:50

    Yip that is soooooo dodgy, police and companies like the airlines in this case must stand together to help the man on the street or issues like this will never be solved

  • Paul - 2011-12-05 11:51

    well he should go order stuff online and claim it was the cloned card so he gets his own back.

  • Alva - 2011-12-05 11:51

    Wow! Not a good advert for 1Time or Nedbank. We all know SAPS suck 80% of the time.

  • Andrea - 2011-12-05 11:53

    Two German tourist drew money at the Stellenbosch Standard Bank Autobank. Their cards were cloned and they lost ZAR 37000 and ZAR 17000 resp. On enquiry at the bank - exact time and date given the manager could not disclose whether anything untoward had had happened when viewing th eCCTV cameras. Again the tourists had their money reimbursed by their banks and Standard Bank is not prepared to do anything. No security at the banks etc. It is your resposnibility to make sure nobodyu clones your card is what they say...

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2011-12-05 11:53

    Pity is, all the banks are useless!! My advice, NEVER let a credit card out of your eyesight; they clone a card in a matter of seconds!!

      Gail - 2011-12-05 17:18

      You don't have to let it out of your sight for it to be cloned as they insert something intyo the atm which reads your magnetic strip and can see you enter your pin no. I know of someone who was employed by a bank and had it happen to her. Also beware of the fine print on insurance you sign for renting vehicles on a budget basis. My son accidentally left his wallet with cash and some card in it and the car window was smashedand the wallet stolen. His card was used to buy airline tickets from CPT-JHB_CPT plus the R5,000 spending money in his wallet. He got the name of the person but it was too late. It could have ruined his holiday but he learned a valuable lesson because he discovered that the insurance he signed for damages caused by burglary did not actually cover the damages or the loss of monies. Beware of budget car rent deals. They were only gone for 20 mins and there was a car guard. Somewhere in Cape Town. Thankfully he was only on holiday and normally lives in a Muslim country the rest of the time.

  • Simon - 2011-12-05 11:57

    Way to go Nedbank (makes you drink....doesn't it) and 1Time. Disgusting example of apathy!!!!! Mac Anamourlis should pursue this matter.

  • duanedrop - 2011-12-05 12:27

    I work for a low cost airline and I know for a fact we spend loads of money and resources to catch these guys. we employ big burly chaps in our fraud department who regularly arrest people at check-in. we use the best fraud detection software to try catch these sorts of things. you would not believe the millions of rands worth of transactions that get caught every day on our airline alone. Of course with any system it isnt perfect and there is a constant technology race with the fraudsters, some will slip through the gaps. We cannot claim the lost revenue back, it cannot be insured, we make a loss on fraud transactions so there is plenty of incentive to catch and stop these transactions.

      Julian - 2011-12-05 12:51

      @Duane: sorry, but the cops and the airlines blew it. They had all the data necessary to make an arrest. They didn't. Cut it any way you want, they should have nabbed these people at check-in.

  • Lynn - 2011-12-05 12:38

    Ridiculous really. This man basically did all the legwork. All the police had to do was show up and arrest the thieves. Embarrassing.

  • Travis - 2011-12-05 12:54

    Thats pathetic! Given all the details of the criminals, flights, times etc and they didn't even bother to try catch them, AND they somehow used the tickets with fake ID's......seriously wtf?

  • Niki - 2011-12-05 12:56

    My sister recently had R6 000 stolen from her Standard Bank account while she was holidaying in Thailand. Try to sort that out long distance...

  • Zion - 2011-12-05 13:40

    My daughter recently had R8000 stolen out of her Standard Bank account. The bank claimed the card was cloned while my daughter vehemently claimed it was never out of her sight.After an investigation by the bank it was found that the a cloned card was used at a Plumstead Branch, a branch where my daughter had never been to before as they stay in Fishhoek. Given that info it is my personal opinion that it was an inside job.

  • Simon - 2011-12-05 15:01

    I had a credit card cloned once, at a resturant in what used to be the Randburg Waterfront. The waiter obviously swiped it through a clone machine. Took the card details on a R10k shopping spree. STANDARD BANK covered my losses with no quibble whatsoever. These bums are everywhere. I never loose sight of it now!

  • Ovie - 2011-12-05 15:27

    I hope this gets published in the Major newspapers online and both in print. Also put this on

  • tchaotsane - 2011-12-05 15:33

    I like MoAfrica's comment on this story.

  • Louise - 2011-12-05 15:47


  • Maximus Odinidus - 2011-12-05 16:05

    This gentleman should lay a charge against the airline for theft. Allowing the criminals to redeem the tickets makes them an accomplice to the theft and perhaps even fraud. They have a legal obligation to endure the arrest of these criminals.

  • Lizl - 2011-12-06 07:22

    A friend got a bank notification that R18000 had been withdrawn. As he knew nothing about the transaction, he went to the bank, and they cancelled the card and gave him a new card. Just before midnight he got an SMS saying that R20000 had been transferred TO his account, and he thought that maybe this was the bank refunding the stolen money. NOT!! A few minutes after gone!! The criminals actually transferred the R20000 from his bond account to his cheque account, and then withdrew it from the chq account. Good news is he got all his money back, but he jumps at every SMS!! Also happened to 2 other friends of mine. One had been in bed for a week after breaking his ankle. When he finally hopped to the ATM, he discovered that his balance was R3.27....he didn't have the Notify-me system. Think I'm gonna keep my money under my bed...

  • Leann - 2011-12-06 07:42

    This is insane! Do you know how many times I am stopped by the police while walking to my boarding gate in Cape Town? Almost every day they have a public stop and search, where you produce your ID & ticket. Surely it would have been easy enough to grab them?? Cannot beleive it and what about the airline? I wont fly 1time again...

  • Ismaeel - 2011-12-06 08:38

    Wonder if the criminals would of been caught and locked up prior to 1994 hhmmm

  • HendrikAfrika - 2011-12-19 12:59

    You fly One Time only ONCE at most.

  • Dino - 2012-01-15 07:24

    They should not have suspended Bheki Cele. The crime levels really went down with him around.

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