Capitec warns of debit order reversal scam

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 29 Jun 2023

Capitec Bank is warning customers of a new debit order reversal scam, where fraudsters, purporting to be bank employees, phone victims to inform them of an unauthorised debit order deducted on their account.

“Beware of an SMS claiming that unauthorised debit orders have been deducted from your account and that a reversal will be processed. Fraudsters may send you such an SMS, and then call you pretending that they’ll walk you through the steps to ‘reverse’ the debit order/s on our banking app.”

During the phone call, the scammer provides the victim with a set of instructions. Once the fraudster’s instructions are followed, the victim then receives an SMS with a one-time PIN.

The scammer then requests the victim to share the password with them, which is used to access the victim’s banking app. The victim then receives a second SMS, informing them the debit order would be reversed within 24 hours.

Moments after the phone call, the client expects the reversal, but in fact the funds are then illegally deducted from their account, and transferred into that of the fraudster, notes Capitec.

The bank cautions clients who may have received the SMS: “If you receive such an SMS, don’t follow any of their instructions to reverse the debit order/s. We will never call and ask you to confirm how much money is in your account. We will never ask you to do a send-cash transaction to reverse debit orders. Fraudsters want you to panic and act without thinking. Always stop and consider the situation before reacting.”

According to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service, impersonation fraud − whereby fraudsters assume the identity of a victim − increased by 356% in SA, from April 2022 to April 2023.

Earlier this month, Democratic Alliance Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille tweeted about how she was swindled out of R5 000 when she fell victim to the debit order reversal scam.

“Looking back, there were red lights flashing the whole way, but I ignored them because the assurances and the props like SMSes reassured me. I always thought I was too savvy to get caught, and wondered how clever people get duped so often,” Zille wrote.