The Standard Bank of South Africa has confirmed it has been affected by a credit card fraud scam involving South African banks in Japan.
According to the financial institution, the perpetrators used counterfeit cards to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines, leaving the bank with a gross loss of an estimated R300 million – this is prior to any potential recoveries that may serve to reduce the loss.
Confirming the incident via a statement, the bank said: “The South African banking operations of Standard Bank Group have been the victim of a sophisticated‚ co-ordinated fraud incident.
“This involved the withdrawal of cash using a small number of fictitious cards at various ATMs in Japan. The target of the fraud has been Standard Bank and there has been no financial loss for customers.
“Standard Bank has taken swift action to contain the matter and the gross loss to the bank is estimated at R300-million. This is prior to any potential recoveries that may serve to reduce the loss.
“The relevant authorities have been alerted. Investigations are at a sensitive stage and further information will be provided as appropriate.”
Earlier this month, Japanese report had it that the bank’s data got leaked, resulting in ¥1.4-billion ($12.7m) being stolen from about 1400 automated teller machines (ATMs).
The Japanese newspaper, Mainchichi added that the theft took place at convenience store ATMs on the morning of May 15 in Tokyo and 16 prefectures across the country.
Also, the media was told 1,600 credit cards issued by one South African bank were used to commit the fraud. However, police believe over 100 people might have engaged in the unlawful withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Standard Bank said its South African operations suffered the losses, not its customers, and that the authorities had been alerted. The financial institution also promised to get to the root of the matter.
“Standard Bank has taken swift action to contain the matter and the gross loss to the bank is estimated at 300 million rand. This is prior to any potential recoveries that may serve to reduce the loss,” it said.
The bank was not immediately available for further comment on Monday morning.
Foreign Agency To Work With Standard Bank
Also, Japanese newspaper Mainchichi said on Sunday that Japanese police would work hand in glove with South African authorities through the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to address the major theft‚ including how credit card information was leaked.
The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited is one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups. It operates in 32 countries around the world, including 20 in Africa.