Credit card fraud – OBS provides insight into complaints

We recently reported on the Ombudsman for Banking Services’ (OBS) review of the first quarter of 2019 which reported on an alarming increase in credit card fraud.

Read: Credit card fraud – Elderly the most vulnerable

The following case summaries provide some insight into the type of complaints the OBS deals with regularly:


Joe Bloggs received a call from a fraudster pretending to be from the bank. The fraudster advised Joe that they had detected fraudulent online transactions in his name and asked him if knew about them. Joe had no knowledge of them and made it clear that he was concerned, believing he was talking to a legitimate bank clerk.

The fraudster advised that they would reverse the transactions when Joe provided the SMS reference numbers to reverse the ‘fraudulent transactions”. Joe repeated the SMS reference numbers to the caller – thus enabling the fraudster to transact on his (Joe’s) account – the very thing he thought he was preventing.

Analysis: This is the modus operandi of a fraudster to lure a bank customer into believing that they are attempting to reverse transactions which have not taken place. They advise the customer that they will send reference numbers to their phones which must be read back for the transactions to be reversed. This is the “One Time Password” which authorises the transaction.


A fraudster made contact with Linda Dube supplying her with enough personal information (including account details) to convince her he was from her bank.

The fraudster advised Linda that the bank would like to convert her rewards points into cash. They requested a previously received OTP, to complete the transaction. Linda complied.

Upon receiving further similar calls, Linda realised that something was amiss, and reported the matter to the bank the same day. By this stage, she was already defrauded out of R11 200.

Analysis: The modus operandi of fraudsters in this instance is commonly known as “vishing”. A customer is led to believe that they are being contacted by a legitimate bank employee regarding existing services. This is how the fraudster gains the client’s trust.

“Credit card fraud is a growing concern as banking systems increase in speed and efficiency,” says Steyn. At the same time, fraudsters apply more sophisticated tactics to defraud and rob customers of their hard-earned money and savings. All bank customers, and particularly the elderly, need to be knowledgeable and vigilant about their preferred banking channels.”

Click here to read the media release of OBS

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