Bogus bank call costs client

LEPHALALE — What looked like help from the bank soon became a nightmare for Jacob Kekana on Monday 30 July.

Kekana, an employee of LEDA stationed in Onverwacht, alleges to have received a call from the number 067 014 4778 and behind it were people claiming to be consultants in the ABSA Fraud Department.

The bogus consultants told him about unauthorised debit orders and relative fraudulent activities taking place in his account every month. He was told that it would be stopped and he will be refunded.

“The person on the phone sounded so legitimate and professional that I did not suspect anything. Initially I spoke to someone called Tshepo Gumede, who read my ID as it is and further asked security questions.

“He asked if I have an account at any retail store before giving me reference number that I would use to speak to another consultant.”

According to Kekana his reference number was 20014548/ and he was asked to input in his four-digit pin number followed by ABSA I95 before going to another consultant.

“I first avoided using the normal pin and used the internet banking pin when the consultant returned me to Tshepo (Gumede) for clarity on the pin I should enter. I was then referred back to the female consultant who gave me instructions to follow. At that stage I suspect she had accessed my internet banking. She asked me to give her letters 3, 6 and 8 as a random PIN that comes with internet banking. She spent more than 15 minutes pretending to be helping me and then the first SMS notifying me of a deduction in my account came through. Before I knew it the second one came through and I checked my phone while speaking to her and realised I was being scammed. I believe throughout that time she was creating beneficiaries for cash-send.

I immediately hung up and called the bank to quickly freeze the account,” Kekana explained.

Kekana alleges the account the money went to is that of Tshepo Gumede, the name of the first consultant he spoke to. By the time he made a call to the actual bank consultants, R7 050 was stolen from his two accounts.

He says customers must be very careful and adhere to the bank instructions on internet banking.

“Banks always notify us but we ignore these messages. My mistake is similar to those made by many other people. It is important to do internet banking in a secure manner, that means if possible, ignore or report anything that asks for your PIN,” he said.

Mogol Post asked for a comment from ABSA Bank via its Media Relations Department and at the time of going to publish there was no response.

In a statement recently issued by the bank, it notes that criminals are trying to capitalise on ABSA’s brand refresh to scam unsuspecting users.

The statement reads: “Cyber-criminals such as these employ increasingly sophisticated methods to access customer internet banking information and email phishing scams are but one of the methods they use.

We would like to remind you that we will never ask you to provide your PIN number or account login information either electronically or telephonically. We will also never contact you to provide sensitive information such as your card PIN, card CVV or online banking password, nor request you to access your online banking profile via hyperlinks or attachments provided in an email. You should never respond to a suspicious looking email or message, or click on a link in a suspicious looking email, but rather delete the email or message.”

A case of Fraud has been opened at Lephalale SAPS.

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