By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband
Old Mutual has confirmed that a portion of its customers have been signed up to its policies without their permission.
This follows a reader telling MyBroadband that they had been subscribed to, and had been billed for, two different policies for which they had never signed up.
The reader, who is a teacher employed by the government, said five of their coworkers had been affected by similar issues over the past few years, and was aware of more teachers working elsewhere who had also been affected.
The reader had been billed for thousands of rand over nearly a year-long period. One of the policies was with Old Mutual and had been billed since November 2019, while the other was with Emerald Life and had been billed since April 2020.
The reason the reader only picked up on this issue many months after it had begun is that they do not get regular payslips from their state employer.
Old Mutual finds the problem
MyBroadband brought the matter to Old Mutual’s attention, and it investigated the situation.
Upon the conclusion of this investigation, Old Mutual told MyBroadband that there was indeed foul play at work.
“Our investigations identified individuals that had been signed up for Old Mutual policies without their consent,” said Old Mutual.
“The implicated parties have subsequently been dismissed and barred from conducting intermediary work.”
Old Mutual also confirmed that it cancels policies that are found to have been opened unlawfully and refunds customers in these cases.
Old Mutual told MyBroadband that the parties in question were independent broker agents who were licensed under the FSCA and accredited to sell Old Mutual products.
Following Old Mutual confirming the problem, the reader told MyBroadband that they were compensated for the full amount lost due to this fraud from November 2019 to October 2020, as well as an additional R500.
Old Mutual fighting fraud
Old Mutual noted that fraud and identity theft are an industry-wide issue, and said it “investigates promptly” and “takes decisive action” in such cases.
“Old Mutual is working with the Provincial Treasury Anti-Fraud Unit and the SAPS Commercial Fraud and Statutory Investigations Unit to gain insight into identifying such incidents earlier, more frequently and accurately. We also conduct regular Fraud Awareness training and engagements with employees,” it explained.
“Old Mutual has a zero-tolerance attitude towards Financial Crime and we take appropriate action against any employee or agent implicated in fraud.”
It also noted that it runs consumer education campaigns to ensure the public is aware of how this fraud can happen and encouraged customers to stay vigilant.
“We have consumer education campaigns to make the public aware of this type of fraud and encourage customers to remain vigilant.”
How to protect yourself against fraud
Old Mutual noted that its campaigns to educate the public on this type of fraud includes encouraging its customers to review their payslips and bank statements on a continuous basis.
This will help them to find and report any transactions that they deem to be suspect.
If they detect such deductions, Old Mutual said customers should contact them in one of the following ways:
- Email: Complaintadmin@oldmutual.com
- Call MFC Servicing Call Centre: 0860 607 000
- Visit any Old Mutual retail branch