Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
5 Jan 2019
6:20 am

Debit order scam hits bank customers hard

Sipho Mabena

Social media and online complaint facilities have been inundated with public outcries about the scam that seems to continue unabated.

Debit order. Picture: Facebook

A Johannesburg information technology manager has decided to close his Standard Bank account after almost 20 years because he believes the bank has failed to deal decisively with a R99 rogue debit order scam.

Ngoasheng Mampana has had to reverse up to four illegal debit orders from his account, saying that since December 21 he has reversed three such debits.

“It is unacceptable and I am in the process of closing my account with Standard Bank. I think they are powerless and out of their depth when it comes to protecting their clients,” he said.

Mampana said the worst part of this scam, which has been running for more than a decade, was that if there were no funds in your account, the bank charged R150 for the bounced debit order.

However, he said he has observed that the scammers, in his case SRDIRECT and SAGEPAY, have got smarter over the years in that now they were able to check if there were funds in the account before submitting the debit order.

“There is a system that they use to observe activity in your account. Every time you load money, they come and this shows that the scams are getting cleverer,” he said.

Mampana said whenever a debit order was reversed, the scammers used a different reference number for a lesser amount.

He said some banks have implemented DebiCheck, a facility that requires a customer authorisation before a debit order can go through, but Standard Bank was yet to implement this facility.

Mampana said Standard Bank told him in an e-mail that “this is truly beyond our control”, which he said was the last straw.

Social media and online complaint facilities are inundated with public outcries about the scam that seems to continue unabated.

Ross Linstrom, Standard Bank spokesperson, said the SA Reserve Bank had requested the Payment Association of SA to find a solution to the scam.

“The initiative, DebiCheck, is now live, although at a controlled volume level. As a first step, a customer’s mandate will have to be obtained and confirmed before a debit order instruction can be initiated,” said Linstrom.

DebiCheck would be fully operational by October.

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