A transaction alert stating that my FNB business bank card had just made a R1597.00 purchase from the online store, Spree, sent me into panic mode on Wednesday night. I knew there and then that the rising and scary wave of banking and online fraud had caught up with me too.
It was only a matter of time after I was nearly stung, the other day, by a fake Standard Bank call centre agent,
I’ve heard stories that once they manage to do the first transaction fraudsters maximising the window of time opportunity by rushing into a series of other purchases.
And so I thought: Oh my god! I have just received considerable money, most of which is just passing. Could the fraudsters be after this cash? I am finished.
On perusing my wallet, I discovered that my card was still with me. And so I concluded that I’m probably dealing with a cloned bank card or stolen identity.
I quickly dialed FNB and was made to wait for about five minutes before my call was answered. The FNB telephone machine kept on telling me that I must be patient as there is high call volume. As you can imagine, patience was the last thing on my mind.
When I got through after more than five minutes, the consultant asked me a couple of questions after listening to my story.
FNB Agent: Is your card still with you sir?
Me: Yes mam
FNB Agent: Does it end with the number XXXX
Me: Yes mam
FNB Agent: Have you registered with Spree
Me: No mam
FNB Agent: Have you ever purchased anything from Spree
Me: No mam
FNB Agent: Ok then sir. We will have to cancel your card. It will take about seven days for us to reissue a new card.
Me: Eish! So that means I can’t transact in the next seven days until I get a new card:
Agent: Sir …
The phone goes dead. Now I’m thinking the agent, understanding the severity of the situation, will call me back. She doesn’t. And so I call the FNB fraud number (087 575 9444) again after about 10 minutes of waiting in agony for the call back.
This time around, I get through in about three minutes. And then comes the same drill of questions and answers and the conclusion to cancel my card.
The second agent manages to cancel the card and I get an SMS within seconds after she told me about her action. She tells me the fraudulent transaction will be reversed. But I must go through a claim process involving filling in forms and all sorts of things.
And she takes me through security check questions before ordering a new card. It will reach me within the next 3 to 5 days.
And then she orders me to hold on so that she can log in a fraud case. She disappears for ever. The phone went silent for about five minutes. She comes back with an incident number and says the bank’s investigation will last for about 10 days. They will phone me to give me feedback.
I’m waiting with lots of questions and concerns in my mind. I’m cursing the potential inconvenience this can cause. And I’m wondering where and how was I compromised. Was it at the last merchant? Was it the people who delivered the card when it was issued? Is it an inside job? There is one thing I know though. It is that we are not safe and the banks have not done enough to secure our accounts.