Tag: Absa

By Lwandile Bhengu for News24

The Absa engineer and his wife charged with stealing more than R100-million from the bank have been granted bail of R50 000 each.

Dressed more modestly than when they first appeared, Xolela Masebeni and Athembile Mpani made their third appearance in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday.

Masebani, a specialist engineer who worked in Sandton and earned R52 000 per month, is accused of stealing R103-million from the bank and allegedly transferring the money into six different bank accounts over four months between September and December 2021.

Mpani, who is also the mother of Masebani’s three children, is alleged to have benefitted from the money. The couple face charges of theft, fraud and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

In bail judgment, Magistrate Phillip Venter said that although there was no doubt that there was a reasonably strong case to be built against the two, the State had not proven that it was in the interest of justice to deny them bail.

During their bail application on Monday, investigating officer, Captain Oscar Molahlehile Mopeli, told the court how the couple had allegedly spent over R200 000 on a shopping spree at luxury stores in Sandton. They are also said to have purchased seven cars with cash over a short period of time, as well as two properties in Khayelitsha.

In his bail affidavit, Masebani told the court that he owned three cars, while Mpani, in her affidavit, said that she owned three cars. The couple intend denying the charges against them.

Mopeli testified that the majority of the money was transferred into Masebani’s and Mpani’s accounts, while the rest was transferred to people known to Masebani.

Some of the accounts have been frozen.

Third suspect arrested

Arguing against bail, prosecutor Sharon Masedi said that, because Masebani was an IT specialist, the State was concerned that he would conceal evidence vital to their case. She also said that the couple had not been co-operative in assisting the State in finding the cars allegedly bought through the proceeds of crime.

Venter questioned Masedi on the fact that no person facing a criminal charge was obliged to give the State information that might incriminate them, and that he could not compel anyone to do that.

He added that the State had not presented anything to substantiate the claim that Masebani, in particular, would try and conceal evidence.

As part of their bail conditions, they must report to their nearest police station twice a week, they must inform police when they leave for the Eastern Cape, they must not apply for any travel documents, and must reside at the same address they gave in their bail application. They must also not dispose of any assets that they mentioned in their affidavits.

In addition, Masebani is not allowed to set foot in the Absa branch where he worked, contact its employees, or access any of its information.

Meanwhile, a third person, who allegedly received R74-million of the money, has been arrested in connection with the case.

Gershom Matomane was arrested in Cape Town on Thursday and appeared in court on the same day.

Matomane is expected to appear again in Palm Ridge Court soon, while Masebani and Mpani will be back in court on 14 March.

 

More Absa customers hit by data leak

Source: MyBroadband

Absa has continued to send notifications to more customers impacted by a data leak in October 2020.

Customers have told MyBroadband they received emails from the bank this past week informing them the leak also impacted them.

“Following Absa’s announcement of an isolated data leak in November 2020, and a resultant independent forensic investigation, we have now identified more compromised data and are contacting impacted customers directly,” it states.

“Unfortunately, this leak encompassed some of your personal information, including your identity, contact details and transactional account number,” the bank added.

The leak, which an Absa employee orchestrated, resulted in the exposure of customer data that included identity numbers, contact details, addresses, and account numbers.

The employee, who served as a credit analyst, had been caught selling the private information of retail banking clients to third parties.

He was subsequently dismissed and criminally charged, and Absa notified the Information Regulator about the issue.

In its initial acknowledgement of the breach in November 2020, the bank labelled the incident as “isolated” and claimed it affected a “limited number of customers”.

Absa chief security officer at the time, Sandro Bucchianeri, later revealed the bank believed the information of 200 000 customers was exposed. For reference, Absa had around 9.7 million customers as of September 2020.

Bucchianeri left Absa in June 2021 and joined National Australia Bank as chief security officer.

Number of new accounts impacted unclear
The latest notification is at least the second time since the initial notice that Absa has informed additional impacted customers their details were exposed in the leak.

In April 2021, Absa sent a similar email to customers it had determined were also impacted.

An Absa spokesperson told MyBroadband independent investigations were ongoing, and the bank continued to reach out to customers as new information came to light.

“Throughout this process, we have taken extra precautions and heightened monitoring of customer accounts,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not respond to a question about exactly how many impacted customers had been added to the original tally of 200,000.

Absa advised customers suspecting suspicious activity on their accounts to contact its fraud hotline on 0860 557 557.

The bank also offers a free digital fraud warranty for customers that use its mobile app.

 

Absa launches facial recognition

By Masabata Mkwananzi for IOL

Absa has officially launched its facial recognition technology in its Android and iOS apps. Now, customers can easily link their unique facial features with their mobile devices to create even greater security.

According to Absa, the ID Facial Biometrics uses facial mapping technology to verify and identify customers when linking a device to their Banking App, and this will provide an additional layer of security.

“Technology is leaping ahead faster than ever, and it’s up to us to ensure that you stay right at the cutting edge. We are, therefore, proud to introduce the Absa ID Facial Biometrics to our Absa Banking App,” the statement reads.

The bank adds that the ID Facial Biometrics will link your unique facial features to your mobile device to create a security barrier that only you can unlock.

The new feature is said to improve the customer’s overall banking experience by reducing trips to the bank to link their devices to their banking app. Now, Absa can safely and seamlessly identify and verify you using your unique face.

“The technology will recognise your face and automatically link your relevant accounts and products, and make immediate payments more securely and conveniently,” the statement said.

Absa says its biometric facial recognition technology is a first for its digital banking security, backed up with highly acclaimed honours. It previously won the Best Digital Innovation Initiative in the Transaction Banking category at the Digital Banker Middle East & Africa Innovation Awards this year.

Here’s what a user will need to set up Absa’s ID Facial Biometrics feature:

  • The latest version of the Absa Banking App
  • A valid cellphone number registered with Absa
  • A valid identification photograph with the Department of Home Affairs

 

Absa CEO resigns after less than 18 months

By Dieketseng Maleke for IOL

Banking group Absa’s chief executive is set to step down after just 16 months in the position. The bank subsequently confirmed the news in a SENS announcement.

On Tuesday, BDLive reported that Daniel Mminele was leaving due to differences with executives over the strategic direction of the country’s third-biggest banking group by assets.

According to the publication, people who were familiar with the matter said: “Mminele and Absa had agreed to part ways due to differences with some members of his executive team over changes to the bank’s strategy, which was largely in place when he joined.

“Subsequent discussions with the board failed to resolve the issues leading to the eventual decision to part ways, the people said.”

Attempts to reach Absa for comment were unsuccessful.

 

Source: MyBroadband

The person behind the recent Absa data breach was a credit analyst at the bank who had access to risk modelling systems and sensitive client information.

The employee, who Absa said they trusted, leaked the client data to an external platform and then sold it to third parties.

This is feedback from Absa chief security officer Sandro Bucchianeri, who was speaking to ENCA about the data breach.

Bucchianeri first learned about the data breach on 27 October, after which they informed the Information Regulator about it.

Around a month after first being alerted to the data breach, Absa sent an email to affected clients warning them that their personal information had been shared with third parties.

He said the communication with customers was delayed to ensure they did not compromise the investigation, which was going through a court process at the time.

To date, Absa has not provided much detail about the number of clients affected and the person behind the leak, but Bucchianeri has now shed more light on the issue.

He said the Absa credit analyst sold private information about their retail banking clients to third parties.

While Bucchianeri could not divulge who these third parties were, he said they were from a “marketing type perspective who were looking for that type of information”.

“They may use the information to sell services or try to commit fraud on these accounts,” he said.

This employee has subsequently been suspended pending further information. Absa has also brought criminal charges against the employee, and these are playing out in the courts now.

Bucchianeri said the information which was leaked included bank account numbers, names and surnames, ID numbers, and contact details.

He added that the details of around 200,000 of their retail banking customers have been compromised.

Absa has now destroyed the leaked data and the external party devices have gone through an independent forensic review.

“We are in the process now to obtain the files for our own investigation,” said Bucchianeri.

He said Absa may also bring charges against the third parties who had access to the leaked data.

Following the data breach, Absa has implemented heightened monitoring on all the clients’ accounts who were leaked.

 

 

Absa suffers data breach

By Dhivana Rajgopaul for IOL

Absa has laid criminal charges against the employee behind the data breach that resulted in clients’ personal information being leaked to third parties.

“Absa has brought criminal charges against the employee, and internally the requisite consequence management has been undertaken. Absa may take further action in relation to the recipients of the data once the full scope of the leak is identified and all investigations are completed,” said the bank in a statement.

According to the bank, an employee unlawfully made customer data available to external parties.

Absa warned the affected clients through an email on November 30 which informed them their personal information had been shared with external parties.

Absa said a “small portion” of clients’ personal information was leaked, but investigations would continue.

The personal information of clients that was shared with third parties includes identity numbers, account numbers, contact details and physical address.

The bank also secured an order from the High Court to carry out search and seizure operations and secured the devices that contained the data.

According to Absa, the data on the devices was destroyed.

The bank said it would contact customers who were affected by the data breach about potentially suspicious transactions.

It has also enhanced the monitoring of customer accounts that have been affected to date as well as put in place additional control measures to minimise the risk of re-occurrence in future.

 

According to a recent article by MyBroadband, a large number of South Africans have asked their banks for payment holidays and cash flow relief during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Absa has seen almost 570 000 account holders benefit from relief
  • This amounts to R7.8-billion cash flow relief
  • Nedbank has assisted more than 225 000 clients, out of a total credit active client base of approximately 2.5-million
  • Standard Bank granted instalment relief to nearly 150 000 clients in the wake of the national lockdown
  • This amounts to over R1-billion in instalment relief per month
  • FNB said it has offered almost R6 billion in relief to customers since 1 April 2020
  • Nearly 700 000 account holders benefited from relief
  • A total of 1.64-million South Africans have received payment holidays

By Helena Wasserman for Business Insider SA

Car-related claims represent almost half of all disputes handled by the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance.

Absa Insurance and King Price rated among the most complained-about insurers in 2018, according to the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance’s annual report.

OUTsurance and Santam had the fewest complaints referred to the ombud.

In only 6% of OUTsurance complaints did the ombud find in favour of the client – compared to 24% in the case of Hollard complaints.

When it comes to claim payouts, King Price and Absa are among the local insurers who have the unhappiest clients.

That’s according to new numbers released by the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance. The ombud’s annual report for 2018 shows that almost 800 complaints (9% of all complaints in the industry) were received from Absa Insurance clients. However, the ombud only found in favour of the Absa’s insurance clients in 18% of the cases.

Here are some of the other big insurers that had high complaint rates (measured by the number of complaints received by the ombud, compared to the total number of claims submitted to the specific insurer).

King Price: 5.3 complaints per 1,000 claims
The ombud ruled in favour of unhappy clients: 17% of the disputes

Oakhurst: 5.7 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 15% of the disputes

Standard: 4.8 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 14% of the disputes

MiWay: 4.8 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 11% of the disputes

Nedgroup: 4.5 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 23% of the disputes

Budget: 4.0 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 11% of the disputes

Old Mutual: 3.7 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 19% of the disputes

Dial Direct: 3.3 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 9% of the disputes

First for Women: 2.8 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 15% of the disputes

The winners:
OUTSurance delivered an impressive performance, with only 1.3 complaints per 1,000 claims – and in only 6% of disputes did the ombud rule in the client’s favour.
Other insurers with low complaint rates included:

Santam: 1.5 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 17% of the disputes

Discovery: 1.8 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 14% of the disputes

Auto & General: 1.8 complaints per 1,000 claims
Ruling in favour of unhappy clients: 13% of the disputes

Hollard also had a relative low dispute rate (1.9 per 1,000 claims) – but in a whopping 24% of cases, the ombud ruled in favour of its clients.

The report shows that more than R87 million was paid out to insurance clients in South Africa following complaints. Almost 9 500 complaints were closed, and on average it took 104 days to settle the complaints.

Motor vehicle insurance represented 48% of the total number of finalised complaints. But only 18% of motor vehicle insurance disputes were resolved in favour of the client.

This was even lower for household content insurance disputes (15%) and homeowner’s insurance disputes (12%).

In more than two-thirds of finalised complaints, consumers complained about the insurer’s decision on a claim. Most complaints related to the rejection of a claim on the basis of an exclusion or warranty in the policy terms and conditions.

By Angelique Arde for Business Live

Absa is tight-lipped about its meeting this week with the banking regulator about how the bank handles cyber risks.

Johannesburg attorney Mark Heyink, acting for 29 Absa customers referred to him by a digital forensic expert and a computer scientist, claimed that the bank had “improperly” held clients liable for losses resulting from online banking fraud and called on the regulator to investigate Absa and the ombud for banking services.

Read more here: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bt/money/2019-01-20-regulator-talks-to-absa-about-bank—fraud-complaints/ 

By Shanice Naidoo for IOL

A Bloubergstrand man had his Absa business account swindled out of R3.1 million while he was in Miami for two months.
Feruccio Ferucci left Cape Town in October without suspecting that his banking information had been stolen.

Around the end of October, his Vodacom SIM card stopped working as well as his internet banking. Growing suspicious, he contacted his daughter in Cape Town to find out from Vodacom what had happened. They informed her that a SIM swap had been done.

“I did not authorise the SIM swap. My phone stopped working for about three weeks and then started working again.

“I haven’t heard anything from Vodacom telling me what happened because my phone just started working again three weeks later,” said Ferucci.

When he returned on December 2, he was shocked to find out from his staff about transactions which were not approved by them at his business in Paarl or by himself. These were fraudulent transactions which had gone off the business account during two of the weeks which his phone had not been working equating to R3.1m.

“These transactions were around R300 000 each and there were about ten transactions. I then contacted my attorney and he referred me another attorney who specialises in this type of crime. I then wrote a protest letter to Absa threatening to close my account with them and my money was refunded around December 23,” said Ferucci.

On speaking to the new attorney, he was told that this was often done to people who are overseas because perpetrators assume one would not check their phone regularly.

“The attorney told me that 90% of the cases he deals with involved people who went overseas. There is no doubt in my mind that what happened to me was promoted by employees of both Vodacom and Absa.

“They probably didn’t steal the money but they probably sell the information,” said Ferucci.

Both Absa and Vodacom have said they are investigating the matter.

IRS Forensic Investigations, which investigates financial, organised and cyber crimes director Chad Thomas said sim swaps are a major issue, with some victims reporting that they have become victims of crime while their phones have been off while they have been travelling long distances.

However, the breach of personal data, including credit card numbers is not just confined to individual hacks via trojans or malware but is also as a result of highly sophisticated cyber attacks on data stored by corporates.

“People need to take cognisance of the fact that a sufficiently determined and capable hacker can take over someone’s online footprint if the correct measures are not taken to protect their information. However, it is not just the individual that needs to take precautions, but also corporates that are storing client’s information and have a responsibility to safeguard that information,” said Thomas.

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