🔒 Massive fraud devastates scores of Standard Bank clients – Highly-paid execs slammed, leadership attacked 

Social media has been ablaze with posts from horrified Standard Bank customers who have seen money disappearing from their accounts.

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By Chris Steyn ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Social media has been ablaze with posts from horrified Standard Bank customers who have seen money disappearing from their accounts.

Some people say they have lost their entire salaries, while others describe how they have had their accounts cleaned out. 

A common claim is when they tried to report it, many could not get through to the Fraud Line, or ended up on hold for over an hour.

Also, certain of the unauthorised transactions allegedly exceeded the limits on both online and card payments of some customers while a number of the bank’s clients claim to have had their accounts blocked without having reported fraud. 

Some heartbreaking stories abound on X: 

One enraged customer told BizNews that she lost R10 000 from a card she had never used.

“I’ve had R10k taken from my current account, shown as ‘outstanding card authorisations’ based on transactions made in Brazil. Not only have I not been to Brazil, ever, but the cheque card related to this account is brand new and has never been used for a transaction at any POS machine, ATM, or online purchase – strongly indicating an internal fraudulent security breach, as there is no way for myself or a third party to have had access to the card details.

“While spending 90 minutes waiting to connect to Standard Bank’s Fraud Line, I noticed on various social media platforms that other individuals had very similar ‘Brazilian’ transactions on their accounts – and in some instances, their accounts were fully cleared out. 

“While waiting on the phone, I tried multiple avenues on the banking app and internet banking to stop the card, all of which failed – it seemed that Standard Bank’s systems were also down. 

“Upon speaking to the fraud consultant I was told to get an affidavit from the police station to open a case of fraud to pursue the return of my money – an entirely unreasonable request when my transaction records clearly show the card has never even been used. 

“It was only because I have a background in banking, understand the systems, and knew who to ask for help in navigating the matter that I was able to get real support and calls back from the bank to pursue interim funds being put into my account, and to assist with a fraud case being opened by the bank to investigate.

“The most upsetting thing is that there are now scores of people who do not have the means, time, network, or intimate understanding of complicated banking systems to pursue and chase down their salaries, let alone demand their right to support and customer care from the bank as a service provider.

“There are poor people who’ve lost their entire salaries, and can’t get through to the Fraud Line or access the money they need for food and rent, now needing to go to the police station. It is sickening.”

Some customers have shared their experiences on the BizNews Premium Interactive Channel:

“I have been hit with nine fraudulent transactions amounting to R14k. It is strange that when I pay someone, my account OTP is required. The bank promised me the investigation would be finalised in 7 days. It is 11 days now.  I have not been refunded yet. I suspect it is an inside job. I never use my current account card,” wrote one member.

Another, a former bank employee, wrote: “Coming from banking and knowing how this all works, this is the most unprecedented thing. The risk procedures, South African Reserve Bank (SARB) requirements, Basel laws, compliance, checks and balances, etc, are literally so thorough, I cannot even begin to fathom how this has happened. 

“The inability of Standard Bank’s fraud division to a) pick this up immediately and to b) wait for over 36 hours to stop it and then not to address it as a clear breach indicates a distinct lack of awareness on the part of their leadership in understanding their client base and raises serious questions about how in touch they are with their clients at all.

“It also brings into question the ability and strength of the leadership team to ensure all necessary risk mitigation is in place and that their technology is able to serve their clients. It’s a failure of leadership for sure.

“The onus and burden of which then falls on their most vulnerable clients. It’s disgusting Someone, many ones should be fired.”

She added: “Standard Bank’s results, performance, executive remuneration, etc. are so high that their infrastructure should ensure that this shit doesn’t happen.

“Why are execs being paid literally tens of millions but are unable to serve their clients in the most basic way – and then not even refund them fully when their money is stolen, and it is 100% NOT the liability or fault of the client, but the bank’s.

“The point really is, that this could not happen – especially to the scale that it has – if the Risk, Fraud, and IT infrastructure were properly in place. And that is a direct failing of the executive.”

A former Standard Bank executive, who does not wish to be named, slammed the “endless changes of leadership, strategy, constant restructuring and the consistent but continuous loss of skilled, accountable leadership over the last decade” which he said had “left significant gaps across the lines of responsibility”. 

“There has been a slow but steady erosion of skills and knowledge gained over decades by bank executives that have been lost due to changing tides, ultimately impacting the clients who have the least agency,” he said.

Asked for comment, meanwhile Standard Bank issued this statement: “Standard Bank continues to receive customer queries relating to potential fraud. The Bank’s fraud mitigation measures are robust and continue to protect and inform customers of any potential fraud on their accounts. 

“Due to the nature of these incidents, Standard Bank issued a direct fraud notification to impacted customers on 2 July 2024. This contributed to increased call volumes to the Bank’s call centre impacting call waiting times. The Bank once again wishes to apologise for any delays experienced and assures customers that it will continue to take steps to protect them.

“Standard Bank is aware of further fraud attempts on some international transactions. Our fraud detection systems will continue to actively identify and block any suspected fraudulent transactions and/or affected cards. Any customer whose card has been blocked due to potential fraud will be reissued with a replacement card as is standard practice.

“In addition to our call centre, we also encourage customers to use alternative channels such as our App and Internet Banking to report fraud or manage their cards and payments.

“Standard Bank will always evaluate each case of alleged fraud on its individual merits to ensure a fair resolution for customers and remains committed to minimising potential financial losses for customers. 

“We will continue to communicate with impacted customers to address their complaints in line with our zero-tolerance approach towards fraudulent activities.”

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