Sim swap fraud: Absa, Vodacom respond to Facebook rant

Johannesburg - South African bank Absa has urged mobile networks, banks and customers to all be more vigilant to combat cybercrime, after a customer lost R240 000 in the latest sim swap fraud attack.

Absa and Vodacom customer Piet Malan recently reposted a video of his rant outside Vodacom on Facebook, in which he lambasted the network, shouting for passersby not to use the network. 

In the video that was uploaded to YouTube last year, Malan said that Vodacom deducted R10 000 per month.

His efforts did draw the attention of both Absa and Vodacom, which has since refunded him .

Vodacom said it refunded Malan as he had been a victim. 

Vodacom's Jorge Mendes, posted a video reply to Malan's incident, the transcript of which read:

"Hi, my name is Jorge Mendes and I look after Vodacom franchise stores for South Africa.

"Many of you may have seen recently on social media an unfortunate incident with one of our clients, a Mr. Malan.

"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to Mr. Malan for the unfortunate incident that has taken place.

"These kind of standards are unacceptable and we definitely do not tolerate this kind of service.

"Mr Malan, sincere apologies from our side. We have as a goodwill gesture credited the account but I am personally taking a hard look at the matter and making sure that we don’t have this kind of repeat service in our stores.

"We sincerely hope that you remain one of our valued clients and once again my sincere apologies for the way in which this matter was handled."

Absa said they regretted the loss and inconvenience inflicted on customers by cyber-criminals.

“Cyber criminals employ increasingly sophisticated methods to access customer internet banking information through email phishing, sim swaps and other methods," an Absa spokesperson told Fin24.

He said the security of their systems does not provide anyone inside the bank the ability to ascertain what a customer’s internet banking login information is.

“Equally bank staff is not able to see the system-generated one-time-PIN (OTP) that is sent to a customer’s mobile phone.”

The spokesperson said cyber-crime is an industry-wide issue that "can only be successfully minimised through vigilance by banks, cellphone providers and customers alike”. 

“In addition to continuously investing in new security measures, we also work closely with law enforcement agencies and banking industry peers to prevent this type of crime from occurring,” the Absa spokesperson added.

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