Attorney Johan Victor says crime syndicates have infiltrated banks and mobile operators in South Africa, and are assisting in SIM-swap and online banking fraud.
Victor is representing a group of people who have lost millions due to Internet banking fraud.
He said all the cases involved SIM-swap fraud and alleged phishing attacks. However, in none of the cases could it be found that the victims interacted with any phishing emails.
The group is demanding detailed information from the banks about the fraud which occurred on their accounts.
It is, however, not only the banks which are in the firing line.
Victor said they plan to take legal action against the mobile operators which were involved in the associated SIM-swap fraud.
“They admitted, in writing to clients, that some of their staff members’ login details were compromised and used to allow for SIM swaps,” said Victor.
However, the mobile operators deny liability, stating the connection with the SIM-swap fraud is “too remote”.
They argue that the perpetrators also had to have bank details and bank login information to access the accounts and transfer funds.
The planned legal action against the banks and mobile operators is partly aimed at exposing details behind the online banking and SIM-swap fraud.
In October 2016, news reports emerged that a crime syndicate had infiltrated Vodacom and was performing SIM-swap and Internet banking fraud.
The report said a document showed that the crime syndicate recruited Vodacom call centre agents to help with illegal SIM swaps.
Vodacom confirmed it was investigating one if its agents regarding alleged SIM-swap fraud.
Cell C also confirmed it was aware of the investigation and was working closely with the relevant authorities.
“Cell C takes these matters very seriously and has many processes in place to detect and prevent fraudulent SIM swaps,” it said.
At the time, MTN could not say whether a criminal syndicate had infiltrated the company or whether its subscribers were at risk.