Fraud happens everywhere – on the cellphone, online and even in stores – but it should not happen on frozen bank accounts.
Peter Mosiane, 58, of Mahikeng, North West, had his Absa bank account hacked and his money pilfered in two days. The mystery, though, is that the account had been frozen.
Mosiane contacted Sowetan after reading an article in the paper a week ago in which an Absa client’s account was emptied in two hours while he was flying to Port Elizabeth. Since then, more consumers have shared their experiences with the bank.
Mosiane said on Friday July 13 he received an SMS notification that two amounts of R750 had been transferred to someone. As it was his lunch hour, he dashed to Absa to inquire about the illegal transactions.
After a bank teller confirmed that R1 500 had been sent to two recipients, he asked her to freeze his cheque account while Absa was investigating. This was done, he said.
“I was shocked when a further R2 000 was transferred from the same account at 4.30pm the same day,” he said.
A day later, on Saturday, a further R9 000 was sent to a number of recipients although the account remained frozen.
As he was at a relative’s funeral in Lichtenburg, he had to rush to a nearby Absa branch to make further inquiry.
“They discovered that the fraudster was transferring money from my savings account into my cheque account before doing all these cash sends to friends.”
The bank also closed his savings account, hoping the hacker would not have further access into his accounts. “I was convinced that they got it right this time until I ran out of petrol and had to use my petrol card,” Mosiane said.
His petrol card is linked to his cheque account, and the moment he swiped it to pay for the petrol, his cheque account somehow got activated.
Soon after paying for petrol, further transactions amounting to R9 398 were effected on his “frozen” cheque account.
“Within three days, hackers had accessed my bank accounts and stole R21 398 on ‘frozen’ accounts.”
Mosiane said he does not have an internet banking account, and that it was created without his knowledge and consent.
He said Absa’s fraud unit offered him a refund of R9 500 as a “gesture of goodwill” but he rejected it with the contempt it deserved. He had to get a loan from a relative to make ends meet while the bank was investigating.
Mosiane also wrote a letter of demand to his private banker demanding answers, but he never got any. They only sent him an e-mail requesting more time – until September 19 – to resolve the issue.
“I can’t wait any longer after suffering without their assistance since July 13. Without my wife and son, who also has his own family to look after, I’d be nothing,” Mosiane said.
“This is nonsense, they [Absa] must pay my money back while they trace their thieves,” Mosiane said.
Absa said it is legally bound to abide by client confidentiality but confirmed it had investigated what happened to Mosiane and have resolved the issue with him directly.
Mosiane said the bank only offered a refund of R19 000 instead of the whole amount stolen. “After battling for such a long time I felt I should accept it and pay my relative who assisted me during my hard times.”