A number of bank card “disputed transactions”, triggered a bank investigation that ended with the arrest of a petrol attendant at a filling station in Bellville, a court in Cape Town heard on Tuesday.
The court heard that the quick arrival of the police at Stellenberg Motors led to the arrest of petrol attendant Mzimasi Bizwapi, 42, allegedly in possession of an illegal bank card skimming device.
Bizwapi has pleaded not guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud, and six counts involving the violation of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.
He is on trial in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.
At Tuesday’s proceedings, police captain Trevor Bailey told the court how three alleged victims reporting “disputed transactions” to their banks started the investigation, and at the end of the probe there were 11 victims.
Some of the victims were lucky enough to have reported disputed transactions in time, and suffered no financial losses, the captain said.
Questioned by defence attorney Carika Esterhuizen, he said all the bank cards had been issued by Standard Bank, and that the lawful owners had all used their cards to pay for fuel at Stellenberg Motors.
According to the charge sheet, Bizwapi was arrested at the service station in December 2014.
The charge sheet revealed that the owner of Stellenberg Motors received complaints from customers who had fallen victim to fraudulent transactions, involving their bank cards.
The investigations uncovered that the last lawful transactions with the bank cards had been at the filling station in question.
The garage proprietor notified Standard Bank’s fraud investigator, Pieter Jordaan, who soon uncovered a bank card fraud syndicate, which allegedly included Bizwapi.
Prosecutor Jacques Smith alleges that the syndicate placed Bizwapi in possession of a skimming device, and that his role was to use the skimmer to capture the data on the encoded magnetic strips of credit and debit cards, used by customers to pay for petrol.
It is alleged that Bizwapi sold the captured information to the person who supplied him with the skimmer.
In June 2014, the petrol station manager, Coreen Steyn, became suspicious of goings-on at the filling station and alerted the police.
According to the charge sheet, a police official arrived soon afterwards and searched all the attendants on duty – and allegedly found a skimmer in Bizwapi’s trouser pocket.
The case continues on May 12.
– African News Agency