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Banking App scam: ‘How I lost R5k in four minutes’

Fraudsters swipe R5,000 as he's inside the bank

Capitec Bank client Nhlanhla Mbatha of Soweto was allegedly defrauded of R5,000 after fraudsters gained access to his App.
Capitec Bank client Nhlanhla Mbatha of Soweto was allegedly defrauded of R5,000 after fraudsters gained access to his App.
Image: Supplied

It took fraudsters four minutes and two cash-send withdrawals to clean out the bank account of a Soweto man while he was still inside the bank's branch. 

Nhlanhla Mbatha, a Capitec Bank client, became the victim the Banking App Activation fraud on January 18 this year. 

He had gone to the bank's branch at Eyethu Mall in Mofolo to inquire about his cellphone banking application (App)  which he could not access as it kept informing him that he had punched an incorrect PIN.

He first went to the ATM at 12.47pm and confirmed his balance of R5,080. He then tried to withdraw some money and the second receipt said he had reached his daily withdrawal limit. 

Mbatha then walked into the branch office and informed the teller about his problematic App and the official tried to log in but also failed, according Mbatha.

“She then verified my identity via photos and biometrics and then went into my account via her computer. She then informed me that two withdrawals of R3,000 and R2,000 have just been made from my account while I was consulting with her. The withdrawals were made from another ATM at Jabulani Mall, which is about 11km away from where I was. I was stunned,” said Mbatha.  

The teller informed the bank's fraud department about the incident and Mbatha was advised to open a fraud case with the police, which he did on the same day. 

Capitec Bank confirmed the incident on Saturday.

“We acknowledge and sympathise with the difficult situation that Mr Mbatha has faced. It is unfortunate that he fell victim to Banking App Activation fraud, a type of scam where fraudsters pose as retail store employees and offer unsuspecting clients free airtime or shopping vouchers. We understand how upsetting this can be,” said Shey Nel from a company that handles the bank public relations. 

She said the fraud happened at 12.51pm, a time that Mbatha was still inside the bank's branch. She said the bank tried to stop the transactions that occurred before the money was withdrawn.

“We can confirm that Capitec systems or employees were not responsible in any way for the PIN compromise and unauthorised transactions. The fact that the fraudsters were able to log into the Banking App successfully indicates that the client [Mbatha] provided their PIN to the fraudsters. This enabled them to perform send cash transactions, which ultimately resulted in cash withdrawal from the ATM.

“In this situation, the client informed the bank after the transactions were approved and no funds were salvaged. Unfortunately, this fraud can only be committed when the client’s personal information is divulged,” said Nel, adding that the bank will co-operate with the police investigation into the matter. 

However, Mbatha rejected the claim that he might have shared his PIN with someone else, stressing that he lived alone. 

The bank said it was not responsible for Mbatha's loss. “If Mr Mbatha is unhappy with the feedback, he may refer the case to the Ombudsman of Banking Service,” said Nel.

The Ombudsman office can be contacted on 0860-800-900 or email to: info@obssa.co.za

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