Do more to protect your financial privacy, an economist and the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) have warned.
Do more to protect your financial privacy, an economist and the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) have warned.

Warning over debit order scams in tough economy

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Oct 5, 2018

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Durban - Do more to protect your financial privacy, an economist and the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) have warned.

This was in light of the country being in a technical recession and this week's petrol increase that would eventually affect everyone financially.

Goolam Ballim, chief economist at the Standard Bank Group, was aware that unauthorised debit orders occur but said they affected only a small number of individuals in comparison to the millions of bank users.

“It is not as generalised as people would assume,” Ballim said of unauthorised debit orders. “But we’re living in trying times and people are looking to make every rand go further.”

However, he said, from their investigations they found that many of the debit orders were authorised and people approached the bank to try to get out of them.

“People don’t protect their financial privacy. Some are careless and they are relying too much to strangers,” he said.

He said banks did not send links to clients but fraudsters would - from websites almost identical to that of the banks.

“During these times, with a weak economy, which attracts fraudsters, people need to be more careful.”

Sabric chief executive Kalyani Pillay said debit order scams were prevalent.

She encouraged bank clients to register for SMS notifications from their banks to be immediately alerted to transactions going through from their bank accounts.

Pillay said should any transaction be disputed, people should contact their bank immediately.

The bank would guide them through the necessary steps to have the transaction reversed and also on what to do to prevent a recurrence.

“We further encourage bank clients to only share personal information like bank account details when absolutely necessary.

“Keeping your personal information as confidential as possible will make it more difficult for unscrupulous entities to defraud you,” Pillay said.

Last month, the Daily News reported on Brenlin Plumbing Contractors, a local business, which was embroiled in an international scam involving debit orders.

People would call Brenlin complaining of a R99.99 debit order coming off their bank accounts from Brenlin. The company had said it wasn’t responsible for those debit orders.

Rosanne Caldwell, co-owner of Brenlin, said: “We think the article had a good effect. People are still calling but this week we haven’t had any calls. Those who still call become aggressive at times but we still explain it to them. We tell them they should speak to their banks because the fraudsters are using our number.”

She said she went to report the incident to the police, but she did not receive the help she hoped for as she was told that making a statement was unnecessary, so she left.

Daily News

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