Double transaction mystery solved

Rosemary Davis said that Pick n Pay, Gardens Centre, owed her R556.16 after they charged her twice for her purchases in July.

“I have not been refunded a duplicate charge from Pick n Pay, and I seem to have hit a brick wall. Please assist me if you can,” the 75-year-old pensioner from Vredehoek asked in October.

Ms Davis used her BSmart card at PnP. The BSmart card is part of Cape Consumers to whom Ms Davis also complained.

She told the BSmart Customer Experience Team, “On checking my statement, I find that I have been charged twice for a purchase made at Pick n Pay on July 22. On that day, I made one purchase of R182.96 then a further purchase of R373.20 which could not be processed as the till broke and would not accept the BSmart card.

“They called me back and made me unpack everything and have it all rung up again. Again – no luck. The BSmart card would not function. When they asked me to unpack and have it all rung up a third time, someone came from the office and said that it was okay they would sort it out with BSmart.

“Now I find that I have been charged twice. I have queried it with Pick n Pay, and they cannot find any record of the purchase at all – even on my Smart Shopper card. I do not have a till slip as the till was malfunctioning. It is all a complete mystery. Pick n Pay must have communicated something to BSmart for them to have made that charge.”

Ms Davis said she tries to avoid shopping at busy times because of Covid-19 and went to buy her goods at 8.30am.

“It was almost 10am when I left and it was very busy at the tills. What now?” Ms Davis asked.

Adriaan Chordnum from BSmart told Ms Davis they were still waiting for confirmation from the retailer about the duplicated transaction.

Then Vicky Stevens said she had requested the relevant department to correct the duplicate transaction and they would send confirmation as soon as it had been processed. Again nothing happened.

Eventually, Pick n Pay said the problem had been resolved.

“The double transaction arose when the till point timed out due to an offline issue, and it was put through again in an attempt to help the customer finalise their purchase.

We work very hard to avoid such instances, but should an IT issue occur, we act immediately to rectify it with the customer,” PnP said.

Ms Davis confirmed that she had received the repayment on October 21. “Indeed they have. Thank you so much.”

Beware

The world is currently experiencing one of the worst health pandemics since the Spanish Flu in 1918, and it has resulted in economic turbulence in many markets.

People are under severe economic pressure, which makes them more susceptible to fraud, warned Manie van Schalkwyk, CEO of the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS).

Many people appeared to have taken advantage of Black Friday, which ran for the whole of November, not just the traditional two-day event. And, with Christmas looming, shoppers will flocking to the malls and online stores loading up their Christmas stockings click by click. If you want to protect yourself against identity theft, there are a few steps you can take, Mr Van Schalkwyk said.

“There are the traditional forms of fraud, such as emails about inheritances or lottery winnings, that the public need to look out for. But there are more sinister methods that are becoming popular. During the provisional tax-filing season (which ended in August), companies were receiving smishing (SMS phishing) messages from criminals posing as SARS saying that they (the company) had been pre-assessed and that they owed SARS a certain amount. If the business owner wished to change this, they could follow a specific link.

That link would take them to a site which looked like the SARS site, but was a proxy for cyber criminals to acquire all kinds of information,” said Mr Van Schalkwyk adding that this is how easy identity theft can be.

A similar tactic is currently being used as individuals are filing their personal income tax. “Be wary of any pre-assessment SMS that you receive.

If you receive one, phone SARS and verify if this is correct. If you are still unsure, contact the SAFPS,” he said.

Other preventative measures include adopting a stringent password policy when using technology and asking the right questions when receiving phone calls.

Finally, be aware of suspicious emails and do not open any unsolicited attachments; double and triple check with IT departments and the company where the email comes from.

“Banks will never send you a SMS asking you to log into your online banking account and change your password. They will also never send you a link to do so. If you receive these, report them to your bank immediately.

“When someone phones you posing as a bank representative, ask why they are calling you, who they are and the branch that they work for, and insist on a reference number.

“Armed with this information, visit your nearest branch before implementing any action,” said Mr Van Schalkwyk.

“If you have become a victim of fraud, you should contact your credit provider immediately and follow their advice on what the next steps in the process are, alternatively contact SAFPS for advice,” said Mr Van Schalkwyk.

Visit www.safps.org.za for more information.