South Africa central bank urges vigilance after Standard Bank hit by ATM heist in Japan

Wed May 25, 2016 9:04am EDT
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By Nqobile Dludla

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's central bank told lenders to be vigilant on Wednesday after criminals in Japan stole millions of dollars from automatic teller machines using fake credit cards from South Africa's Standard Bank (SBKJ.J: Quote).

The criminal gang made 14,000 withdrawals in just three hours from bank machines at 7-Eleven convenience stores across Japan on May 15, withdrawing 1.4 billion yen ($13 million), according to a source familiar with the matter.

Central bank deputy governor Kuben Naidoo confirmed that Standard Bank would shoulder the losses.

"We will work with the law enforcement agencies to try and prevent and tackle those crimes," Naidoo told reporters.

Rene van Wyk, the central bank's registrar of banks, said lenders who rely on outside vendors should be careful as the cyber attacks were taking place abroad rather than in South Africa.

"So that vulnerability will always remain because you're dependant on other parties, so that relationship between vendors and banks, that is one thing that we focus on," he said.

Standard Bank said on Monday it had suffered the losses, not its customers, and that it had alerted the authorities. It estimated its total loss at 300 million rand ($19 million).

The bank has declined to comment further.   Continued...

Customers queue to draw money from an ATM outside a branch of South Africa's Standard Bank in Cape Town, March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings