News / South Africa / Crime

Gareth Cotterell
Digital News Editor
2 minute read
30 Sep 2021
6:38 pm

Woman warns of ‘syndicate’ at malls after her phone was stolen and bank account emptied

Gareth Cotterell

Ayabulela Mahleza took to social media to warn others about what she calls a "syndicate" operating at malls.

Within minutes of a woman's phone being stolen at a mall, her bank account was emptied. Image: iStock

The Mall of Africa was top of the trends list on Twitter on Thursday as a woman told how her phone was stolen at the shopping centre and soon after, all her money was withdrawn from her bank account.

Ayabulela Mahleza took to social media to warn others about what she calls a “syndicate” operating at malls across the country.

She says she had her iPhone in her hand the whole time she was in the mall. She briefly put it in her handbag while she looked for a specific item in a store. In the short time it took her to pick up the item and walk to the till, her phone had disappeared.

Mahleza says she went to the iStore in the mall to see if they could help her find it but the phone was already disabled.

She reported the theft to the police. Mahleza then claims a police officer told her there is a syndicate at the mall that regularly commits these types of crimes.

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Her nightmare, however, had only just begun. Mahleza had cancelled her bank card minutes after the theft. She then tried to get a new card from the bank, only to find out that her account had been emptied.

Although her bank card was cancelled, the thieves were able to use the banking app on her phone to transfer all her money into another account. They then withdrew the money at an ATM at the Mall of Africa.

She then detailed how these types of criminals are technologically savvy and how she was even told by a police officer that “no matter how careful you are they always find a way”.

As if losing all her money wasn’t bad enough, Mahleza went on to highlight how her businesses have come to a halt since her phone was taken.

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