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Online crooks rob man of his first pay cheque in years

Nov 05 2015 09:13
Matthew le Cordeur

When hackers steel information like usernames, passwords and credit card details, it is termed phishing, something that affects banks all over the world. (iStock)

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Cape Town – A Standard Bank online banking customer whowas defrauded of his first salary in a year-and-a-half has been paid back his money.

Jacques Nel had just been paid R4 000 when he got an email from a fraudster that “looked identical to the ones Standard Bank sends”. The email said he could redeem money from his UCount rewards platform, with a link to the site.

Thinking life was getting better by the second, Nel opened the link and was asked to plug in his banking details and pin code. He instantly got an SMS asking him to send a one-time pin code, which he did.

Then an SMS came: R4 000 had just been deducted from his account towards an instant money voucher. Nel’s heart sank. He had just been scammed.

He quickly realised that the bank might be able to stop the voucher from being activated, as they still had to go to an ATM to activate the withdrawal.

He phoned the fraud hotline immediately, but he said he was put on hold for 19 minutes. During that time, the fraudsters withdrew the money.

Nel was left fuming.

“It was my whole flippen pay cheque,” he said. “I spent R400 on airtime to get the matter sorted out and to get a case number. They phoned me back at 23:45 (15 hours after the incident) to tell me that my card had been stopped and that we should open a case.”

Five days after the incident, Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom confirmed the incident and said the bank refunded Nel “as a gesture of goodwill”.   

Fin24 reported in August that several UCount users had been scammed in a similar way.  The email uses the address ‘’ and ‘informs’ customers that they’ve earned over 60 000 UCount points, Fin24 Tech editor Gareth van Zyl reported.

READ: Scammers target Standard Bank UCount users

When hackers steel information like usernames, passwords and credit card details, it is termed phishing, a criminal activity that affects banks all over the world.

Linstrom said that as soon as a phishing threat is identified and reported, Standard Bank has the sites shutdown.  

“There is also proactive monitoring of the web to identify phishing sites targeting Standard Bank and have them shut down,” he said. “This however does not prevent fraudsters building new sites and distributing additional phishing emails.

“Standard Bank has also sent emails to customers warning them to be aware of the phishing scam.”

There are various security initiatives to drive client awareness on fraud, explains Linstrom, which include updates on the security centre on the internet banking website, SMS awareness, banners on our website and awareness on UCount newsletters.

SLIDESHOW: Standard Bank security awareness

standard bank  |  scams  |  phishing


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