Combing through your bank statement should be done habitually to ensure all the debit orders are correct and authorised, writes Thuli Zungu
Most of us never do this and take for granted that any amount less than R100 goes to bank charges,
Doctor Mgaga, 57, of Spruitview, last month realised he had been paying two Durban-based companies R99 each per month for the past two years.
If both payments went through each month in the past 24 months, this would mean Mgaga paid R4752 to unknown people in that period.
These debit orders were not authorised and he has been able to stop and reverse only one month’s payment, he said.
Mgaga said he went to Absa to inquire about the debit orders and was told he probably signed a debit order authoriseing Luksha and Sagewise to debit his account.
“I do not sign any debit orders of such small amounts. Even if I did there is no full statement from Luksha or Sagewise showing what I bought from them,” Mgaga said.
Mgaga said the bank told him he had allowed the debit orders to exist for too long, making them look legitimate.
“I was told if I don’t monitor my bank statement the bank will not do it for me,” he said.
No one is immune to these scams. I too was scammed last month. I noticed an odd debit order on my account which conspicuously read Google and in capital letters with a charge of R96 to it.
It further had an offshore charge of R1.73 which drew my attention as I do not have an offshore transaction and never buy online.
On inquiry, I was told that I made an overseas purchase which I disputed as I don’t buy online.
The fraudster used ATM card details of a card I have not used in a year. I have not been able to reverse this unauthorised debit order, and have asked my bank to do so.
Absa chief executive Marius De la Rey said the bank would not discuss Mgaga’s matter, but said it would communicate with him to resolve it.
De la Rey said the issue of debit order fraud was a concern to the banking industry, and that it was being addressed through an industry-wide project currently being tested by all relevant role players.
He said the banking industry aimed to introduce a system whereby new debit orders would only be processed to a customer’s account if the mandate for such a debit order had been electronically confirmed by the customer.
“This will contribute substantially to the safety and efficiency of debit orders, and will hopefully go some way towards reducing debit order fraud and debit order abuse,” he said.