JOHANNESBURG – Standard Bank Group says it has been the victim of a fraud incident involving the withdrawal of cash from ATMs across Japan using fake credit cards. The bank expects to lose R300 million from the incident.
“The target of the fraud has been Standard Bank and there has been no financial loss for customers,” Standard Bank spokesperson, Ross Linstrom said on Monday.
Quoting investigative sources, Japan’s national daily, The Mainichi, on Sunday reported that $12.7 million (R198 million) in cash was stolen from some 1 400 ATMs in convenience stores across Japan in the space of two hours on May 15.
“Police suspect that the cash was withdrawn at ATMs using counterfeit credit cards containing account information leaked from a South African bank,” the daily reported.
Police believe more than 100 people may be involved, according to the report, which quotes anonymous sources as saying that approximately 14 000 transactions were used to draw a maximum of 100 000 yen (R14 247) from seven bank ATMs.
“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,” said Linstrom.
“The relevant authorities have been alerted. Investigations are at a sensitive stage and further information will be provided as appropriate,” he said.
According to The Mainichi’s news report, ATM transaction data suggests that information from 1 600 credit cards was used.
The paper reported that Japanese police are working with local authorities, through the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), to investigate the theft, including how the credit card information was leaked.