Cape Town – A pensioner has become the latest in a string of victims to lose his money when the notorious SIM swap gang gained access to his Absa bank account via a MTN SIM swap.
the ranks of Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman, who had R360 000 transferred from her Absa account through a fraudulent SIM card swap a few months
A 65-year old pensioner from Pretoria, who asked not to be named, said in May his cellphone just went blank. He thought that his battery had died, but
once he had recharged it, it simply indicated “no service”.
day, when he wanted to connect to Absa's online service, it kept bombing out.
immediately went to Absa where I discovered that a
total of R253 000 had been transferred from my account. It was established that it had been transferred to a Capitec account. I immediately
reported the matter to the Lyttleton police,” he wrote in an email to Fin24.
know that I am innocent. I worked hard for the money and it was a tremendous
knock to my future retirement.”
He says a
subsequent forensic investigation concluded that he had accessed an illegal
website five times over a period of a couple of months and provided
website was identical to the one that Absa normally sends to customers to say
that your bank statement is attached,” he said.
According to him Absa usually just
asks for one’s ID number and in these fraudulent cases it was the same. This time he, however, could not access a bank statement.
supplied a pin or a password, and I still have not been informed by Absa
whether I might be able to get my money back,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, Capitec informed the pensioner that the two accounts to where the money
was transferred, had been frozen.
Absa merely responded with "the investigation is still underway".
spokesperson of Capitec, confirmed that Absa had informed Capitec’s
fraud detection team about the pensioner’s case on May 13.
account numbers provided were all stopped as well as all other accounts linked
to the transaction. “Our
forensics team managed to recover some of the funds and they will process the
refund as soon as they receive the indemnities from Absa,” Nel said.
“We need to
reiterate that although Capitec Bank’s actions were taken within minutes from
being notified, the fraud had already taken place two hours prior, at another
bank. We want to stress that time is of the essence in these situations.”
now waiting to hear from Absa and the Saps to assist in the investigation.
MTN only said they are looking into the case.
more SIM swap victims came forward. Viona
Clarke said in an email to Fin24 that she lost R10 000 from her Absa account due to a fraudulent MTN SIM swap.
She said Absa denied
her claim and the bank’s decision was supported by the ombudsman for banking
that I was negligent and divulged my password and pin. I am prepared to join any class action,” she said.
Another Fin24 user, Johan
Terblanche, said he has become just another statistic after R449 000 was
illegally withdrawn from his Absa bank account on January 15 this year.
date they've recovered R253 000, but the rest could not be retrieved. Vodacom
caught the culprit in their Midrand office.
Capitec accounts where the money was transfered to have been opened with fake IDs.
It's been more than four months now. Absa simply said that I should contact the
Ombudsman if I liked.
obvious reasons I am moving my account to another bank," Terblanche said.
Dijk lost R285 000 in February in an exact same scam. "To
date, I have not been able to speak to anybody at the police regarding my case.
My internet banking and cell phone has been off since then," he wrote.
Jacobs is yet another victim. She wrote that her phone showed no service on
Friday, May 3. I phoned MTN thrice during the afternoon and was told to reboot
someone saw that a SIM swap had been authorised on my phone. When I wanted to
log on to my internet banking, I couldn't and when I phoned Absa I was told
that R53 000 had been moved from my credit card together with money in my
cheque account. The total that was transferred from my account to a
Capitec account was R82 100."
Jacobs said: "I am really
worried as I now owe the bank R60 000, which was the total limit on my credit
one can tell you when to expect an answer and in the meantime I am borrowing
money to get through the month."
She said it
feels like being victimised a second time... "it is very frustrating
being kept in the dark like this".
Elizabeth Venter said her experience taught her that the client becomes the
the night of March 13, fraudsters did a SIM swap on my Vodacom phone," she
found out about it late on March 14, but during that time fraudsters hacked
into her internet account and created four beneficiaries. "They
stole R28 489.60 of my hard-earned money," she said.
she immediately opened a police case, contacted the fraud unit at Absa bank, as
well as the fraud unit at Vodacom.
a week the bank notified me that they will not pay my money back, because I
apparently gave my pin and password to 'whomever'. The person who was supposed
to investigate the SIM swop phoned me once and then disappeared in thin air.
know that the fraud was committed with the login of an employee within
Vodacom's Business Centre and told them as much, but I never heard from them
again. Absa's fraud unit re-opened the file after I lodged a complaint with my
bank manager, but they again notified me that they will not pay anything
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