The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) has outlined a recent case where a South African woman lost over R30,000 to SIM-swap fraud.
The case centred around a complainant who when she discovered that her phone was dead, contacted her telecommunication service provider and was advised that she needed to replace her SIM card, which she did.
“She then discovered from her bank app that her account had been depleted. She called the bank’s fraud department to report the incident and her card was blocked,” the ombud said.
Her bank subsequently declined her claim for a refund, arguing that it was not liable as the her card details were used to make the transactions.
The bank further advised that all the One-Time PINs (OTPs) needed to complete the transactions were sent to her registered cell phone number.
The bank also denied that a SIM-swap had taken place.
OBS investigation and outcome
The OBS’s investigation confirmed that the disputed transactions were made with the complainant’s card details and the OTPs that were sent to her registered cell phone number.
However, the ombudsman was able to establish that a SIM-swap had been fraudulently made on the day of the fraud, resulting in the fraudsters receiving the OTPs.
To escape liability, the bank was asked by the OBS prove that the complainant was negligent in compromising her card details and the OTPs, but the bank could not.
The OBS, therefore, recommended that the bank refund the complainant’s loss amounting to R30,698 and the bank agreed.