Victim of digital wallet fraud? Complain to ombud if bank won't reimburse you
Bruce Whitfield interviews consumer ninja Wendy Knowler.
Three months ago in August, the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) warned that digital wallet fraud is on the rise in South Africa.
The office reported it had recently investigated 124 complaints of so-called NFC (near-field communication) fraud, with losses running into the millions.
A complaint from a bank client who lost thousands through fraudulent transactions prompted consumer journo Wendy Knowler to revisit the issue.
The bank said it was not responsible for the R11 500 worth of transactions because they were ApplePay transactions.
After Knowler's advice to lodge a complaint with the OBS, the bank refunded the woman in full.
Ombudsman Reana Steyn told me today that her office had been settling all these digital wallet cases in favour of the consumers... Since meeting with the banks, and sharing its view on the matters, complaints have slowed dramatically, ie the banks are choosing to settle without their clients having to go to the OBS.Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist
After months of the banks refusing to pay any of these cases and customers suffering millions in losses, they are now engaging to improve the security on those platforms Steyn said.
And, in the meantime, the banks are settling the matters without their clients having to go to the OBS.
154 complaints have been lodged with the ombud's office since January and to date it has closed 132 of them, with 22 still active.
Knowler says a total amount of R2.5 million has been recovered in respect of these types of cases, which works out to an average of almost R19 000 per complaint.
There is one bank though, that is refusing to come to the party.
The ombud has a meeting scheduled with them in the hope that they'll come around.
In the meantime, Knowler advises, consumers must be very wary of any bank SMS about linking a device.
"Do not just say yes."
And if you have suffered losses due to this form of fraud, lodge a complaint with the OBS if your bank won’t reimburse your losses.
Listen to the full conversation at the top of the article
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