Pensioner loses life savings

A PENSIONER alleges he has been defrauded of R60000 from his Nedbank account despite changing his PIN several times on the bank's advice.

A PENSIONER alleges he has been defrauded of R60000 from his Nedbank account despite changing his PIN several times on the bank's advice.

Unfortunately Nedbank did not respond to the man's request to view the camera footage at the ATM site where his money was withdrawn until the footage was erased due to the time lapsed.

Linchar Esrom Botsi's misery started when he sought assistance from the bank's employee at the Tembisa, Gauteng, branch after he had transferred his lifetime investment from a fixed to a savings account.

"I never thought that when giving a bank employee my bank details I was opening myself to fraudulent activity, which the bank is now holding on to to decline my claim," Botsi said.

His claim is declined on the grounds that Botsi was a victim of "phantom" or "friendly" fraud.

Botsi, 61, lost R60 000 within three months.

He claims shortly before that a bank official called Mandla helped him make a withdrawal at a Nedbank ATM.

"I gave him the required information because he was doing a very good job with what I needed at the time," Botsi said.

From that date his money mysteriously started to disappear from his account, Botsi said.

He enquired about the disappearance of his money and was advised to change his Personal Identification Number (PIN).

He did so.

"But nothing changed. My money still disappeared until the account was wiped clean," Botsi said.

He went to Nedbank to report the matter again and he was referred to an employee whom a bank staffer said was a manager, but who its eventually turned out was not.

"Crosby, the employee who pretended to be the bank manager, made excuses to justify why my money disappeared," Notsi said.

"He told me to call head office and only then did I get the correct name and details of their branch manager.

"The branch manager promised to check the surveillance cameras at the ATM where my money was withdrawn - but nothing of the sort happened.

"I was also advised to open a fraud case at a local police station , but having done so I am still waiting to be be sorted out.

"I have in fact been waiting since last November and no one has given me feedback or answers to my questions."

After reporting his complaint to Consumer Line late last year, Nedbank called him and asked Botsi to bring in the necessary document. They said their head office would handle the matter, but did not give him any feedback until Consumer Line called them last month.

Doug Hardie, executive general manager: client services at Nedbank, dismissed Botsi's claim on speculative grounds.

He said Botsi might have been a victim of phantom or friendly fraud`, in which someone who is known to the card holder has access to the card and information.

He said Botsi had compromised his PIN - as he confirmed - by giving a family member access to this information.

He said the activity on the account is not consistent with the modus operandi of "card skimming", "cloning" or "swapping", in which the perpetrators attempt to withdraw as much money as possible over a short time.

"Furthermore, close scrutiny of the activity points to the fact that the person in possession of the card had knowledge of the PIN as no transactions were declined as a result of 'invalid PIN entered', as it is not possible to transact with the Visa electron card without a valid and correct PIN." Hardie said.

He said Nedbank found no negligence on the part of its employees and the bank cannot be held liable.

But Nedbank has not responded to Botsi's request to view the camera footage taken at the ATMs where his money was fraudulently withdrawn.

Responding to this allegation Joanne Isaacs of Nedbank said: "Unfortunately the Nedbank ATM sites transacted at either had no cameras or the footage was erased due to the time lapsed."

The other transactions were done at non-Nedbank sites (Saswitch ATMs), so e no footage is available.

"In this light, there is no footage to show to Botsi," Isaacs said.

"But a transaction list detailing all activity on the account as well as sites and establishments where transactions occurred, has been sent to Botsi."