The current social grant fraud by “syndicates” which has given the South African State Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries sleepless nights has been proven to have had its origin from the Western Cape.
After it launched an intensive internal investigation following numerous complaints from beneficiaries about unauthorized deductions from their social grant payments, the Sassa said it was the doings of a service provider Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
The report has it that the Western cape has received a number of incidents related to this fraud. About 0.5 percent of 5.4 million beneficiaries were affected.
In fact, a 72 yea-old Hanover Park pensioner Devinish Domingo said he suspects he has fallen victim to the scam after he noticed that money has been deducted twice from his account.he said he received a call from a woman claiming to be a Sassa official, who wanted his PIN.
“Three months back, just before Christmas, I got a call from someone from Sassa wanting my ID number and PIN number because in our townships they hand out (food) hampers,” Domingo said pointing out that he changed his password severally after issuing it to the caller, yet his money kept reducing.
However, confirming the deduction of money from the accounts of the likes of Domingo, the CPS said it was in contact with him (Domingo)
Serge Belamant, who is a Net1 executive officer said the CPS had all its focus geared towards electricity resales which targeted homeowners. He said about 8 000 disputed transactions have been refunded. The CPS blocked all “compromised accounts” and will require biometric verification and a reset of the PIN.
“The most vulnerable are affected because they are the ones that selected biometric verification as their only method of payment verification, but who were then forced to select a PIN,”
“I would like to highlight a further point mentioned in our (press) release, namely that the compromise is largely due to the fact that many beneficiaries were mandated to select a PIN against their own wishes as the banking rules and regulations do not allow biometric verification as a card verification method (CVM).
“It was clear if biometry was used exclusively. No one except the beneficiaries themselves could transact on any payment channel.” he said
Meanwhile, Sassa spokesperson Kgomoco Diseko assured South Africans of a quick relief to this situations. He said a process was underway to introduce legislation that will enable service providers to use debit orders on social grant accounts.
“In some cases these fraudsters use the ‘proof of life modus operandi’ by visiting homes, producing forged Sassa ID cards and informing their victims that they are doing inspections to confirm whether the card holder is still alive,” said Diseko.