Gone in 30min: East London man still to get answers after losing R13 000 to ATM card fraud

BY YOLANDA PALEZWENI - APRIL 10, 2017
Gone in 30min: East London man still to get answers after losing R13 000 to ATM card fraud

Over a year later, 34-year-old East London man, Loyiso Mkiva, says he is still to get answers and his money back after he fell victim to ATM bank card fraud and lost R13 000 in just 30 minutes.

“It was on Wednesday morning, 30th September 2015, I was working day shift, so I decided to go and withdraw R50 for lunch and transport from the available R100 I had from my account since the following day was pay day,” Mkiva told RNEWS.

He says he went to his bank’s (name withheld) Automatic Bank Teller (ATM) along Oxford Street in East London. After inserting his bank card and pin, he waited for the machine to process his transaction, but the money he had requested never came and his bank card was ‘swallowed’ by the machine.

Instead, he received an SMS withdrawal notification on his phone from his bank.

“I was still waiting for the money to come out, and the next thing my bank notified me that R5 000 had been withdrawn from my account at an ATM in Buffalo Street, in East London - I was shocked because I only had R100 available in my savings account,” says Mkiva.

Still in shock, Mkiva told RNEWS that he then started receiving more SMS notifications notifying him of withdrawals from various ATMs around East London – that is when he began to panic.

“As I was still shocked by the first R5 000 withdrawal, I received another notification that R3 000 had just been withdrawn in Southernwood, East London.

“That was when it hit me that I had a fixed account with my bank, which had around R27 200.”

Mkiva was planning to buy himself a car with the savings in the fixed account.

“It was still early in the morning and banks were still closed, I had to wait for the bank to open to enquire about these withdrawals,” he describes.

While he waited, more money was withdrawn at different ATM's and local shops in East London.

“I've never panicked like that in my life; I don’t remember ever feeling so hopeless as I watched almost all the money I had worked hard for disappear - I almost had a heart attack,” he adds.

At about 09:00, the bank was opened and Mkiva immediately went in to report the mysterious transactions.

“I went to the bank tellers and the lady referred me to the bank manager ... I explained to them what had just happened,” he remembers.

Mkiva says the bank manager told him that he may have given someone his bank card and pin or he had just fallen victim to bank card fraud - and there was nothing they could do.

“I told the manager that my card had been ‘swallowed’ by the ATM and asked him how the people could have access to my money, which was in a fixed account.”

He requested that the bank immediately freeze his account and conduct investigations.

“I was told to wait for 10 working days as they find out what had happened,” Mkiva claims.

“When I later came back, I was told that the fraudsters had scanned my pin while I was busy withdrawing from the ATM.”

He says he then questioned the bank how it was possible for the fraudsters to access money in a fixed account and at the same time increase his withdrawal limit and steal R13 000 in just 30 minutes, but got no answers.

“I went to open a case at the East London police station.

“They told me that they will open an investigation and I was advised to contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) South Africa and lay a complaint against the bank,” says Mkiva.

“I even approached Legal Aid to assist me with the case - again they told me to seek help from the Ombudsman.”

He says that that when he contacted the Ombudsman, they replied with the same response from his bank that his pin had been scanned and they promised to do further investigations.

“I've been waiting since 2015 for answers, but nothing has come through.

“I fail to understand how the money – money I could not even access because it was in a fixed account, could just disappear like that,” says Mkiva.

He adds that the bank told him that there is nothing that they can do and cannot pay him back the money he lost.

Mkiva says he has since switched banks as he feared he could lose the remaining money.

“I believe that it was the bank's fault that I lost my money.

“I will continue to fight until I get my money back,” he says.