• Phishing scams

    Don’t be a victim – beware of phishing email scams

    Phishing is when fraudsters try to steal your password, account details, PIN numbers and account details by tricking you into believing that you are using a genuine Absa website.

    What does phishing look like?

    Phishing usually takes place via email. You will receive an email that looks like it comes from Absa asking you to either:

    • Click on a link that will take you to a website
    • Open an attachment that will take you to a website
    • Log in into online banking
    • Update or verify your account information
    • Update or verify your personal information

    When you enter your details however, the fraudsters now have them and can use them to access your accounts.

    How does it work?

    Fraudsters often try to scare you into opening the email by saying things like:

    • Your account has been accessed
    • Your account will be suspended
    • A large deposit has been made into your account
    • You need to update your details
    • You need to install new software to secure your account

    These emails always look very authentic, using the correct Absa colours and logos. When you click on the links you will be taken to a website that looks just like the Absa website. It can be very hard to tell whether the site is real just by looking at it. 

    However, there are ways that you can check if the site or email is genuine or not.

    Delayed phishing attacks

    If fraudsters do manage to get your account details, they may not use them immediately. So it is good practice to change your banking logon information such as your PIN and password regularly to keep your money safe.

    Be wary of email subjects with the following messages:
    • FW: Payment Notification
    • FW: Absa Account Statement (20180226)
    • FW: Update your Absa banking app
    • Re: Fwd: Uncleared payment notification
    • Re: FW: Absa Surecheck Profile App - Upgrade | FICA information
    • FW: Online payment confirmation
    • FW: Download and update your Absa banking app
    • FW: Copy of payment
    • FW: Confirmation copy
    • FW: Payment confirmation
    • FW: Epay verification

    Be aware of this new phishing email


    After clicking on the link or opening the attachment in the email, you will be redirected to a fake Absa Online Banking logon page, where you are required to enter your:

    • Access account number
    • PIN
    • User number




    After clicking on Next, you are prompted to enter your full password:



    Upon clicking Logon, you will be taken to a screen that looks like your Profile page, and within a few seconds you will receive a pop-up Verification Request:



    Once this counts down to zero, a second pop-up appears requesting your:

    • App passcode
    • ATM card number
    • ATM PIN
    • Phone number


  • Vishing scams

    Vishing, a combination of ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’, is the criminal act of fraudsters calling you from a landline or cellphone number to gain access to your private, personal and financial information.


    This is the way vishing fraudsters usually operate: 

    • Fraudsters will phone you, posing as a bank representative.
    • They will try to manipulate you into disclosing confidential information.
    • The fraudsters will also ask you to call them back, in order to verify that you are indeed speaking to a legitimate person. 
    • Once you call back, you will be redirected to a call centre at your bank.
    • The fraudsters will then call you back and the information you provided can be used to scam you.


  • SIM scam

    SIM swapping

    If a fraudster has a false copy of your identity document, they can perform an illegitimate SIM swap with your cellphone service provider. The fraudster now has full use of your cellphone account and will receive messages intended for you. They will also receive the confidential banking notifications and approval SMSs that the bank sends to customers.

    If they have already tricked you to give them your personal and account details, they can transfer money from your account without you knowing. If Absa becomes aware of a SIM swap, a temporary hold is placed on your account to allow you to authenticate yourself.
    If the SIM swap was legitimate, you can wait out the 36 hours or authenticate yourself by calling our Contact Centre. Once you have been verified as the actual Absa customer, the hold will be lifted.


    Watch out for this cellphone scam that enables fraudsters to port your number and gain access to your accounts.

    Fraudsters port the victim’s number from one cellphone service provider to another. Some cellphone service providers send SMSs for the account holder to confirm that they are transferring to another service provider. When these confirmation messages are ignored, the porting goes through and the fraudsters have access to the victim’s cellphone messages, including the approval SMSs that the bank sends to customers.

    If they have already tricked you into giving them your personal and account details, they can transfer money from your account without you knowing. Always keep your cellphone switched on and don’t ignore messages from your service provider.

    Twin SIM

    Be aware and pay special attention to all messages received from your network service provider regarding Twin SIM functionality. Please notify our Fraud Hotline immediately at 0860 557 557

    Do not switch off your phone. Take note of any logon notifications when you are not logging on to Absa Online yourself

  • Card skimming

    Card skimming

    Card skimming occurs while you are making a payment or withdrawal (at a restaurant, garage, ATM or retailer). The criminal either has direct access to your card (to process the payment) or the device is attached to the slot of the ATM. All Absa ATMs have Jitter technology that makes your card shudder slightly when you insert it into an ATM as an added safety feature.

    This is in place so that if a card skimming device is present, it will only capture scrambled data. Card skimming devices are generally smaller than a deck of cards, and are hand-held (often fitting snugly into the palm of the hand); which is why people are not aware of what is happening until they are defrauded at a later stage.

    What can you do to avoid being scammed?

    Always keep an eye on your card when making a transaction; and scrutinise your bank statements to ensure that you spot and report irregular transactions that may occur on your account.

    What should you do if your card is skimmed?

    If your card has been skimmed, you need to contact your bank immediately and ensure that your card is blocked. This will ensure that the criminals can’t do any more transactions using your account details. The bank may ask you to:

    • Change your PIN
    • Cancel the card (and issue you a new one)
    • Ask you to sign an affidavit or provide additional information (depending on the circumstances surrounding the skimming)
    Will I be reimbursed?

    Depending on your bank or the means used to remove the funds from your account, your bank may reimburse you. Each case is individually assessed and circumstances of the loss are considered to determine if any claims will be refunded.

    If a “fraudulent” transaction has taken place where your card is used together with your PIN, the transaction is usually identified as authentic, and you will not be reimbursed. Never keep your PIN number and card together; rather memorise your PIN.

  • 419 Scams

    419 scams

    If you receive an email with an offer that seems too good to refuse, it probably is a 419 scam.

    We have all received those badly-spelled, lengthy emails that tell you in detail how you have won the lotto; or that they will give you large sums of money in return for helping them; all they need are your bank details or some cash. It may sound like an opportunity you can’t miss - but be wary of offers like these.

    What is a 419 scam?

    A 419 scam usually consists of a letter, email, SMS or fax that tells the intended victim that they will receive a large sum of money due to something like winning the lottery, a job offer, a joint venture or an inheritance. The sender then requests your bank account information so that they could transfer the money into your account, with the additional request that you send money to “help the transfer along”. Many people send thousands before they realise that they have been taken in by a scam.

    What does a 419 scam look like?

    If you receive an SMS or email, and you are not sure if it is a 419 scam, there are some markers that you can look out for:

    • There are large amounts of money promised, usually in dollars or pounds, for your help.
    • The letters are usually sent by someone claiming to be on a high level of authority (a prince, lawyer, bank official, doctor, or government official).
    • There is often emotional bribery involved, with an illness or a death being mentioned as motivation to help.
    • You will generally be asked to communicate by email.
    • Authenticity is often boosted by the presence of attachments such as tax clearance certificates.
    • They are generally full of grammar and spelling mistakes; and if they contain links to websites, these are generally also full of spelling mistakes and non-standard language (such as using all capital letters).

    I have received a 419 scam email - what do I do with it?

    Firstly, do not reply. These emails are sent out in bulk to a number of email addresses in the hope that someone falls for the scam. You can then either forward the email to the South African Police Services, or delete them.

Need more help?

Let one of our consultants assist you.

Call our security centre on:

Fraud Hotline:

0860 557  557

3D Secure Call Centre:

+27 (0) 11 354 4058

Report phishing emails: