A Kimberley man lost more than R71 000 due to fraud after the SIM card in his cellphone was hacked.
Kimberley – A Carters Glen resident, whose cellphone SIM card stopped working, watched in horror after doing a SIM swap this week as message after message appeared on his phone indicating that numerous transactions – varying from between R3 500 to R5 200 each – were paid out of his account.

The resident lost more than R71 000 due to the fraud after the SIM card in his cellphone was hacked.

According to the resident, he had no network coverage when he woke up on Wednesday morning and he was unable to make or receive calls or SMSs.

“At 9:30am I went to my service provider to find out what was wrong. They tested my SIM card in another phone and said something was wrong.”

He added that the staff did a SIM swap, because they could not trace the error.

“I had to wait for two to three hours before I could switch the phone back on.”

The resident said that when he switched the phone on again at midday, he received 28 SMSs. “Many of them were from Absa and I realised that money had been deducted from my account, without me being aware of it.”

He said that he immediately contacted Absa and the matter was reported to the bank’s forensic section, who identified that fraud had been committed.

A summary of his banking details shows that two transactions were initially made – transferring R20 000 and then R47 000 from his credit card into his cheque account.

Beneficiaries were then created on his account and a total of 15 transactions were made, transferring money from his account to the beneficiaries, until the overdraft limit on his cheque account was reached.

In total, R71 000 was paid out from his account – including 11 amounts of around R5 200 each and four amounts of R3 500.

“I have no idea how it happened. I have never received any funny e-mails or given out my passwords to anyone.”

He stated that Absa indicated that the matter had been referred to their forensic division but were unable to state how long it would take for the investigations to be completed.

“I have no idea who the beneficiaries are of the accounts into which the money was paid.”

He added that he was also unaware of what time the transactions were done. “It could have been any time from midnight on Tuesday until my phone switched on again at midday on Wednesday.”

An almost identical incident was reported to have happened to Dr Dawie de Villiers, a former Springbok captain, whose wife’s SIM card was swapped.

De Villiers had more than R430 000 paid out of four different bank accounts.

Police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeng Tawana, confirmed on Thursday that a case of theft was being investigated after a charge was opened with the Kimberley police.

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