A Howick woman has found herself deep in debt after her bank account was hijacked in suspected bank fraud.To date, Julie Coles has been fleeced of over R11 000 and currently owes thousands to creditors as the alleged fraudster has also been reversing all her debit order payments.The 66-year-old told The Witness that in July she received a call from a man pretending to be from the bank.The alleged fraudster advised Coles that the bank had detected fraudulent online transactions in her name and asked her if she knew about them. “I made it clear that I was concerned, believing I was talking to a legitimate bank clerk. The fraudster confirmed my banking details and advised that they would reverse the transactions.”She said it was only after the bogus bank consultant requested her bank pin number that she became suspicious.“I refused to give him my pin number. He tried to assure me that he worked for the bank, but I was adamant and didn’t give him my bank pin,” she said.Coles then rushed to the bank to report the phone call and was assured that her bank account was secure as she had not divulged her card pin.However, last Friday when she got paid, her salary vanished within an hour. While she had received an SMS notification alerting her that her salary had been paid into her bank account, when she checked her bank balance an hour later, she only had R28,91.Days after her salary disappeared, she also started getting phone calls from creditors alerting her that she had accounts in arrears.“I didn’t understand what was happening because my debit orders go off religiously every month.”Coles has since discovered through the bank’s fraud division that someone hacked into her account and has been reversing debit order payments.“The bank suspects that it was internal fraud. The bank’s fraud department said the culprit downloaded an application using my banking details which authorises them to stop the debit order and reverse the money to buy things like airtime and electricity.”A frustrated Coles suspects that the alleged fraudster managed to gain access into her account after doing a sim swap using her old cell phone number. “My rent is not paid. We’ve got no food in the house and creditors are calling me because my debit orders have been reversed for two consecutive months,” she said.“I need my money but the bank keeps telling me it’s investigating. I don’t even have a cent on me,” she said.Kedibone Molopyane, Nedbank’s head of media relations, said the matter was being investigated by the bank’s forensic team.Sabric’s Kalyani Pillay said there has been a sharp increase in vishing incidents, where criminals phone bank customers, lead them to believe that they are speaking to the bank or a legitimate service provider and use social engineering tactics to manipulate them into disclosing their confidential bank card details.“A bank will never call you to ask for this information. If you receive such a call, put the phone down immediately,” Pillay warned.