Man robbed while flying to work - Card fraudsters empty account in two hours

Sowetan helps a man robbed while aboard a 2-hour flight from Port Elizabeth recover his money.
Sowetan helps a man robbed while aboard a 2-hour flight from Port Elizabeth recover his money.
Image: 123RF

A passenger on board a flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth was left penniless after fraudsters mysteriously stole close to R60 000 from his Absa credit card and cheque account in just less than two hours.

Thanks to Sowetan, his story has a happy ending.

Jeremiah Ngcobo, 58, of Protea Glen in Soweto had gone to Port Elizabeth for a meeting on July 27.

He got the shock of his life when - upon switching on his cellphone on arrival in Port Elizabeth from OR Tambo International Airport - he was greeted by a series of messages confirming the fraudulent transactions.

To Ngcobo's surprise, all the fraudulent activities took place while he was in possession of his bank cards.

Ngcobo said the scammers took all the funds that were available on his credit card and wiped out his salary and the overdraft amount available on his cheque account.

The incident left Ngcobo penniless and he had to take out loans and rely on the kindness of friends and relatives to survive.

The bank statement, which Sowetan has seen, showed two transfers of money to another Absa Bank account totalling R12280 and three other transactions amounting to R3000. Further transactions were done, and in total, they totalled R58488. Ngcobo could not report that fraudulent activities immediately because he was rushing to a 9am meeting.

He said he only did so on his return to Johannesburg around 3pm and was assured by his bank that all his accounts would be closed.

He was issued with a new card, but whatever money that was deposited into his account was immediately taken to service the non-payment of debit orders that bounced while his accounts were frozen.

"I was left with nothing and life was tough because I could not buy things myself and I lived at the mercy of my family and friends," Ngcobo said.

"The livelihood of my family has been negatively affected and I could not think straight anymore."

He said the bank's lack of urgency in resolving the matter only added to his misery. "It seemed that I was the one who always made follow-ups without them caring.

"It would seem that the criminals were buying goods priced between R6010 and R6315 with my money," he added.

Ngcobo was struggling to figure out how the fraudsters had managed to siphon off the money from his accounts because, being "old-fashioned", he had not opened an internet banking account or uploaded a banking app to transact on his phone.

But he can now afford a smile after he was finally reimbursed all his money by Absa on Tuesday, after Sowetan inquired about his case.

"I'm happy that I finally got all my money. I'm moving on now," an elated Ngcobo said.

An Absa official, who asked not to be identified, told Sowetan on Tuesday that they had resolved the matter with Ngcobo but could no comment further about it, citing confidentiality between the bank and its client.

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