Online cash transfers new boon for con men

BE AWARE: Nowadays even a proof of payment can be forged. Contact your bank when unsure of the authenticity of a proof of payment sent to you, it can be verified PHOTO: Marianne Pretorius
BE AWARE: Nowadays even a proof of payment can be forged. Contact your bank when unsure of the authenticity of a proof of payment sent to you, it can be verified PHOTO: Marianne Pretorius

Electronic fund transfers is the easiest and convenient way of transferring money from one bank to another without actual cash changing hands. Unfortunately, scammers are now using the system to swindle unsuspecting consumers.

Most EFT scams involve deceiving the seller into accepting a fake proof of payment so that they can release goods on sale. The seller later discovers after the goods have been released that no payment was made.

This scam was recently used by a moneylender, Bridge Debt, who wanted to dupe a consumer into believing they had paid R18793 into his bank account when they had not done so.

Sipho Baloyi*, 43, of Nkowankowa in Limpopo, took a loan of R6000 from this moneylender in 2010, but failed to repay it.

A year later Bridge Debt enlisted the services of Flemix and Associates, who obtained an attachment order against Baloyi and served it on his employer who debited his salary without his knowledge.

Baloyi said he had not consented to the default judgment or allowed the attachment order against his salary.

Instead of attaching what was only due to them, the attorneys docked R750 from his salary over a period of three years and refused to stop until Baloyi approached the National Credit Regulator (NCR) for intervention.

The NCR ordered Bridge Debt to refund Baloyi R18793.

They took Baloyi's banking details with the promise that they would refund his money, but never did.

Flemix and Associates later e-mailed Baloyi proof of payment from Absa Bank dated November 23, 2015 but no money had been deposited into his account.

"The proof of payment looked real except that there was no money in my account " he said.

Complaining to Flemix did not help as they insisted his money was deposited into his account.

They instead asked Baloyi to produce his bank statement of the month but even that did not help, Baloyi said.

"Flemix could only tell me their clients' forensic department had closed my case as they had investigated and found that the refund was paid," Baloyi said.

But Baloyi's worries are now over as he was paid the money due to him last Friday after Consumer Line's intervention.

Consumer Line took up his matter with Absa and Capitec Bank, who could not trace the movement of his money from Absa to his bank account at Capitec.

Amanda de Beer of Flemix insisted that Baloyi was refunded and that their forensic department closed his file after they discovered he had indeed been paid.

She said they later advised their client Bridge Debt to refund Baloyi as it was clear from their client's bank and Capitec that the EFT did not happen on the morning of the November 23 as they claimed.

After effecting the money transfer recently, Bridge Debt sent a totally different EFT proof of payment and this time Baloyi also received an SMS notification confirming a deposit of R18793 into his bank account.

Bridge Debt apologised for any inconvenience that may have been caused to Baloyi.

X