Bank account fraud: Scammers target local pensioners | #scams | #elderlyscams
POLOKWANE – An online banking scam has left at least two pensioners in Polokwane without a cent in the bank.
The latest in banking scams is targeting the most vulnerable (elderly citizens) and in a press release, Reana Steyn, Banking Ombudsman says the scam involves phone calls made on behalf of the bank. She warned patrons to ensure that their banking and personal details are secure.
“The criminals’ methods are getting smarter, their technology is more advanced. Banks continue to evolve their products, services and systems to try and stay ahead of fraudsters, however are sadly unable to fully protect consumers from falling prey to the tactics used by fraudsters to obtain confidential information such as banking details, card information and one-time-pins (OTPs).”
The latest scam involves fraudulent phone calls.
The scam artists’ modus operandi involves sending an SMS to the client, warning them of an amount being deducted from their account illegally. They then give a number whereby the client can dispute the transaction. During the phone call the victim provides their personal information and the scammers access the victim’s bank account.
(A screen shot supplied of the above mention scam)
In other cases the scam artists phone the client directly:
- A bank customer will receive a phone call from someone who says they are from the customer’s bank;
- The customer is informed that funds have been fraudulently withdrawn from their account;
- Alternatively, customers are told that they need to act quickly and urgently, as fraudsters “are about to take funds out of their account, but this can be stopped, if they act quickly and cooperate”.
- By this time, the fraudster already has the customer’s phone number (he/she is calling the customer) and may have a host of other personal information at his/her fingertips. This includes addresses, ID numbers, other contact details, e-mail addresses, employment details, or NB even a customer’s bank card number;
The customer is asked to update or verify their details, possibly on their cellphone;
- The customer is then requested to provide everything required to access their bank account, such as card details, the card’s pin number, transaction OTP’s, and mobile or internet banking passwords. The fraudster says that this is necessary for them to assist the customer, to redeem the rewards, to do a transaction, stop a fraudulent payment, or recover the stolen money;.
- Once the customer has provided the requested details, their accounts are emptied.
Steyn says that in the past few months, the Ombudsman has recorded more than 640 new fraud complaints.
“What is very clear from the cases that have been received and investigated by the OBS is that anyone and everyone can be a target and in many of them cases, it is not possible to recover any of the funds which have disappeared.”
Steyn urges consumers to never share personal or bank details over the phone. If in doubt, go to or call your nearest branch and speak to a consultant who will clarify the request for you if it is legitimate.
Review is aware of two Polokwane residents who have fallen victim to this scam, both of whom didn’t want to be identified.
Both cases were reported to the police.
OBS provided the following tips on how to protect yourself from a scam:
- Be aware. Remember that legitimate businesses, especially banks, will never ask you for your personal, sensitive, or confidential banking information (PIN, OTP, Password). Anyone who does this over the phone is probably a fraudster;
- Do not give in to pressure. If someone tries to coerce and/or pressurise you into giving them sensitive information hang up and immediately contact your bank’s fraud department to report the incident. Especially if the prompt is of an urgent nature;
- Stay calm and do not panic. These criminals frequently play on unsuspecting consumer’s emotions. Keep a cool head and hang up the phone. Call your bank, credit card company, or wherever the caller claimed to be from immediately and verify whether there is a real problem;
- Always be sceptical. Even if your Caller ID gives the name of a bank, or some other company or organisation, it could be a trick;
- If you lose cellphone connectivity for some time for no apparent reason, receive an SMS for a Sim swap or a number port you did not request, contact your bank and then your network service provider immediately.