Tree feller the latest victim of e-mail hijacker who holds several accounts at FNB

2020-01-28 15:20

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A local businessman has been scammed of R18 000 after an e-mail with his banking account details was intercepted and fraudulently altered.

Stuart Knight, of Don’s Tree Felling, said that his business partner had invoiced a customer for R18 000 to cut down a tree in Montrose. He was supposed to pay R9 000 as a deposit.

The invoice was sent from the e-mail address donfarm@sai.co.za but the customer received it from the address donfarm@executivemail.co.za.

The customer went ahead and transferred the money into the account indicated in the invoice, which it turns out was the scamster’s banking account.

The customer then received an e-mail thanking him for making payment and did not suspect that anything was wrong.

Knight went ahead and cut down the tree, despite the money not reflecting in the account.

After this was done, the customer paid the remaining R9 000 into the account. When Knight did not receive payment he contacted the customer, who was adamant that payment had been made.

Knight went to First National Bank to figure out what had happened.

It was only there that it was brought to his attention that the account number the money had been transferred to was slightly different from his account number.

Knight said he tried to get the bank to freeze the account the money went into, but was told that the money had already been withdrawn.

He added that he was given the name of the person who the account belonged to and his cellular number.

“They at FNB told me that he [the account holder] holds five different accounts and seems to be moving money everywhere,” he said.

He said “a computer boffin” in the family checked the computer that the e-mail was sent from and everything was found to be in order.

“It left our server perfectly,” he said.

He is adamant that the scamster has a way of “pulling e-mails out of the air and changing the details”.

This renders all e-mails unsafe, he said.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that a case of fraud has been opened at the Town Hill police station.

No arrests have yet been made.

FNB spokesperson Nadiah Maharaj said an internal investigation was conducted and the outcome has been communicated to the customer.

“We will co-operate with law enforcement authorities should information be required,” she said.

Maharaj could not provide any more details on the matter due to customer confidentiality.

However, she said that the bank takes incidents of fraud very seriously and treats every case on its own merits.

She said that fraud is a global concern in the financial services industry and encouraged customers to always familiarise themselves with the content of the bank’s security pages which is located on the banking channels.

“Customers who suspect that their personal information has been compromised are encouraged to contact the bank immediately for urgent assistance,” she said.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  scam
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