Pensioner fleeced by card fraudsters

Banks used to decline valid claims from customers whose monies were fraudulently withdrawn while they were in possession of their ATM cards

Banks used to decline valid claims from customers whose monies were fraudulently withdrawn while they were in possession of their ATM cards

They insisted that it was impossible to clone cards or steal valuable personal data and blamed clients for disclosing their PIN's to third persons.


Fraudsters have proven that it was possible to steal client's valuable data from ATMs and swiping devices at restaurants and to clone cards.

Cyber crime has become a reality in South Africa . African countries, mostly because of inadequate action and controls to protect computers and networks, are targets of attack.

A great deal of criminal activity is also being perpetrated from this part of the world.

The so-called Nigerian 419 or advanced fee scams is one of them.

Cyber law experts say cyber crime escalates because criminals around the world capitalise on the opportunities the Internet provides for them to reap substantial financial rewards with a relatively low risk of getting caught and punished.

Criminals flock online because the Internet offers them much the same benefits as it does legitimate businesses: a global reach, the ability to automate transactions, and easy access to a market comprising potentially billions of victims.

Criminals also like the fact that the Internet offers them an anonymous platform for their scams.

They don't need to be in physical contact with their targets to get hold of their passwords, identities or money. Indeed, they can be in another country, which reduces the risk of being captured and successfully prosecuted.

Salamina Ngwenya is the latest victim of the phishing scam.

Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal consumer's valuable personal data, such as credit card numbers, other account data and passwords, or other information.

Phishing could also involve sending an e-mail to a user claiming to be a legitimate enterprise in order to deceive the user into surrendering information that will be used for identity theft.

Ngwenya, a debt-fearing pensioner, said she went to pay her account in August last year and discovered that she had overpaid it.

The woman at the shop told her she did not need to pay her monthly instalment as her debt had been paid off.

But a month later, she was billed R12000 for goods she supposedly bought in Gauteng.

In November the fraudster who used her name to purchase the goods paid R4364 and continued to use her account, which now owes an amount of R17000, which Woolworths is demanding from Ngwenya.

She lodged a complaint in November but each time she made an inquiry Woolworths asked her to fax her complaint as they had not received it.

"This just shows their level of customer care and I don't know why they demand a card protection fee if they cannot prevent fraudulent transactions," she moaned.

She said Woolies have lost her as their loyal client.

"I am now sick, my blood pressure level has shot up because their agents keep on harassing me for payment," said Ngwenya.

Zane Maker of Woolworths has undertaken to resolve Ngwenya's problem to her satisfaction.

He also apologised for the inconvenience Woolworths may have caused her.