Phoenix resident, Ameetha Rampathar has advised residents to request their monthly bank statements to ensure that they are not victims of fraudulent activities.
This comes after the pensioner discovered that a certain company was lodging unauthorised debits on her account for several months.
Speaking to The Phoenix Tabloid, Rampathar said she noticed that the company had lodged a R99 debit order from her account when she requested a three month bank statement for medical aid purposes.
“I discovered that R99 was deducted, I approached the bank and because it was over the 40-day period, the bank said it could not reverse the amount. As a pensioner, R99 is a lot of money, it’s the whole week’s loaf of bread. I just want to make other people aware of what’s going on so they could get their money back by the bank reversing these amounts before the 40-day period,” said Rampathar.
She said the debit orders could have been taking place months before requesting for her statement and was not sure how much has been deducted or for how long at this stage. “I was able to reverse two such deductions but not the bank charges, which I think is very unfair,” said Rampathar.
Rampathar added that from speaking to some people, it seems this is happening often at various banks while most people are not aware of it. “Residents should request a monthly print out of their bank statement to ensure that there’s no such fraud with their bank accounts. A stop order can also be made to prevent the money from being deducted,” she said.
Her husband, M Rampathar said this was not an isolated case. “This is happening every month but the sad thing about this is, when I approached the bank, they are fully aware that this is a fraudulent activity but do nothing about it. As a financial institution, the bank has obligations towards its clients and one of those obligations is to act in the best interest of your clients.
The bank knew this was happening but failed to do anything about it, so, I feel that the banks are equally responsible for this kind of unauthorised debit orders,” he said. He added, “The banks have failed in their duty of protecting their customers and they should be held equally responsible not only for the unauthorised debit amounts but for the bank charges, I’m not interested in the 40-day period, anything that has been deducted whether it’s six months or a year, they need to go back and reverse those amounts.”
Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Captain L Naidoo confirmed that a case of fraud has been opened with the Phoenix police station.