"I feel empty. Somebody looks at me and I want to cry. My trust in people has been destroyed." These are the words of a 76-year-old widow who lost R10 000 after being duped by a conman in online banking fraud a fortnight ago. The emotional distress suffered by Mrs L of Northwold, Johannesburg, is common among victims of online banking fraud. Attorney Mark Heyink specialises in information security law and, on a pro bono basis, represents 32 Absa clients who have suffered loss as a result of internet banking fraud. These were referred to him by computer experts who believe that the clients had done nothing wrong and had been treated poorly by their banks in the investigation of their complaints. Heyink says not only do victims suffer severe emotional distress, they are also subject to a form of victim-blaming or secondary victimisation at the hands of the banks or the banking ombudsman. In addition to the 32 pro bono Absa clients, five matters relating to other banks were also referr...

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