Pensioners easy prey for banking fraud

Johannesburg – The Ombudsman of Banking Services (OBS) has warned that fraudsters are refining their modus operandi in efforts to get confidential banking information from unsuspecting consumers.

Reana Steyn, the banking ombudsman, said the office of the OBS continues to receive complaints from consumers who were deceived into providing the confidential banking information to fraudsters.

“Just a couple of years ago, the most common scam was phishing e-mails. This seems to have been overtaken by vishing scams [fraudulent phone calls]. In just these past few months, the ombudsman recorded more than 640 new fraud complaints that were received despite the daily warnings about these scams,” said Steyn The banking ombudsman shared a case study to demonstrate the typical modus operandi of fraudsters.

According to the ombudsman, pensioners are the preferred target.

In this case, a 69-year-old pensioner received a call from a fraudster who claimed that they were from the bank.

The fraudster told the pensioner that he was advised that the bank was in the process of stopping unlawful transactions that had been made from his account.

The fraudster requested that the pensioner provide the onetime- password that he had been sent by the bank. An amount of R10 000 was stolen from the pensioner’s account. He complained to the ombuds.

Despite being 100% at fault for the loss, the bank considered the pensioner a vulnerable consumer. As a gesture of goodwill, the bank gave him a full refund and educated him about the various types of fraud.

The bank further assisted him with downloading the bank’s app on his phone to improve the security measures in place to prevent this type of incident.

A few months later, the pensioner received a call from fraudsters and was persuaded into processing R26 500 from his banking app. He reported the matter to the bank and his profile was blocked.

He received another call from the fraudsters a month later and again disclosed his info resulting in R5 500 being stolen from his account.

While the bank declined to refund the R26 500, through the ombudsman’s investigation, it was discovered the last transaction should not have been successful as his profile was supposed to be blocked.

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