SASSA ATM network under attack by “sophisticated” criminals

  • You will no longer be able to draw your SASSA grants from ATMs using Post-bank issued gold cards for the rest of December.
  • The agency says that this is to mitigate a series of network attacks by sophisticated criminal elements.
  • However, you will still be able to withdraw social assistance grants from retail outlets that provide cashback functionality, like Shoprite, Checkers, and Pick n Pay.

This holiday season is shaping up to be a memorable one that’s for sure. Eskom plunged the nation into Stage 6 loadshedding at midday yesterday and worsening blackouts are expected into the new year and beyond.

To add to the holiday cheer, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has announced that beneficiaries won’t be able to use their Postbank-issued gold cards to withdraw their grants from ATMs for the rest of December.

SASSA has suspended this service because it has detected that its networks are under attack by criminal elements, reports SA News.

According to a statement from the agency, the Postbank has been experiencing a number of technical problems that have disrupted the withdrawal of SASSA grants from ATMs in recent months.

After a series of investigations, it was discovered that these glitches have actually been a “series of network attacks by criminal elements determined to commit systematic ATM card fraud-related crimes on Postbank payments using sophisticated modus operandi, which require further investigation.”

The agency has been forced to suspend ATM withdrawals of grants, as “a mitigating exercise.”

“In consultation with our partners following the resurgence of these criminal activities at the inception of the December payments, it has become necessary that Postbank suspends SASSA grants withdrawal at ATMs for those clients using the Postbank-issued Sassa gold cards,” SASSA says.

The Postbank says that a team of professionals, external experts and law enforcement agencies have been assigned to deal with these threats. It adds that “great progress” has been made to close down avenues for these actors to take advantage of the system.

“Postbank is aware of the impact that this change in payment channels will have on the social grant beneficiaries and other stakeholders, and we apologise for the inconvenience,” it adds.

Luckily, SASSA beneficiaries using gold cards can still collect their social grants from retail outlets nationwide that provide cashback functionality, including the likes of Shoprite, Checkers, Usave, Pick n Pay and Boxer.

The Postbank says it will release a notice once ATM transactions via the SASSA gold cards are again available.

[Image – Eduardo Soares on Unsplash]


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