arly on a sunlit summer’s morning in Japan, with the last cherry blossoms fading and the wisteria in bloom, more than 100 fraudsters strolled into convenience stores all around the country.
With fake credit cards cloned from the information of 1 600 South Africa Standard Bank customers, they made 14 000 transactions, drawing in total the equivalent of R300-million in Japanese yen from 1 400 ATMs in just three hours, between 5.00am and 8.00am local time.
The authorities, the bank and its customers in South Africa, still asleep, were none the wiser. The thieves had probably already skipped the country with the small fortune in yen, the most tradable currency in the world after the US dollar.
It was only a week later that a Japanese paper, Mainichi, reported on the theft, citing investigative sources. On Monday, Standard Bank confirmed it had been the victim of a sophisticated, co-ordinated fraud.
The bank said it had incurred a total R300-million loss,