Absa will reverse and refund clients for fraudulent debit orders, the bank said. File picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - Absa will reverse and refund clients for fraudulent debit orders, the bank said on Sunday.

"Absa Group Limited has stepped up efforts to combat a recent spike in illicit debit orders and will file criminal charges against those suspected of being responsible," the bank said in a statement.

This would be done in conjunction with the Payments Association of South Africa (Pasa) and the South African Banking Risk and Information Centre, it said.

Ahead of the full implementation of DebiCheck, an industry-wide initiative driven by Pasa, fraudsters had increased their efforts to defraud as many banked customers as possible. The modus operandi was to put through debit orders for which they had no mandate for amounts that would not trigger an SMS notification to clients from banks.

"Absa also stops working with those companies found to put through debit orders without mandates and reports them to Pasa, so they can be black-listed among its members. Where fraud is found Absa will reverse transactions to refund defrauded consumers.

"In addition, a new risk-based approach to processing debit orders is being implemented, whereby the bank will use its analytics to proactively identify fraudsters based on their behaviour," Absa said.

African News Agency (ANA)