Pigs and bank scams: Learn how to stay safe in this week’s Consumerwatch

Pigs and bank scams: Learn how to stay safe in this week’s Consumerwatch

Have you looked at an SMS and wondered if it's really coming from your bank? Or had money leave your account without a notification? Wendy Knowler shares expert advice regarding this. 

SMS scam

Babes in the ‘Burbs

Why have an ordinary dog or cat as a pet when you can have a cute little pig?

Well, the most compelling reason the novel, highly intelligent pet doesn’t work out for so many people is that they don’t stay Babe little for very long - by the time they are fully grown at the age of five or six, they can weigh over 150kg.

There is no such breed as a mini, teacup or tiny pig.

Pigs can be very moody and aggressive, and when your aggressive pet is a lot larger and stronger than you, with destructive tusks, that’s mostly not going to end well.

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Pigs are not a good fit for most suburban properties, or even legal in most cases, unless you can get a permit from your local authority. 

And neighbours tend to complain about the squealing. A lot. I was approached recently by Shelley Dryman, on behalf of the pig sanctuary, Pigs n Paws, in Cullinan. She claims that people who breed and sell pigs as pets are often grossly misleading buyers about the size their little piglet will reach, and when they grow into huge pigs, many of them get left at animal sanctuaries.

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Carmen Vosloo of Teeny Tiny Pigs, based in Cape Town, claims that her pigs will remain manageable at no more than 30kg and 45cm at fully grown “at 18 months”.

In fact, pigs are far from full grown at 18 months and can carry on growing until they’re six.

According to Shelley, several Teeny Tiny Pigs have grown to be well over 100kgs; some of them up to 150kg.

Carmen Vosloo of Teeny Tiny Pigs denies that she’s misleading people and says most pigs get huge because their owners over-feed them.  

She said she started breeding pigs more than 10 years ago, sourcing pigs which were smaller when fully grown “but not necessarily the runt of the litter”, while still adhering to ethical breeding practices, including not breeding with underage pigs.

She said she encouraged all prospective owners to visit the farm before purchasing a piglet, “to get a more realistic expectation of the size that their pig might grow to”, but of course it wouldn’t be feasible for her many customers outside of the Cape to do that.

“We maintain that a healthy pig from our breeding program would grow to a height of approximately 45cm at the shoulder and an approximate weight of 30kgs.”

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When she started, she said, some pigs did get a lot bigger, she said, but the owners were offered a refund, and that would still be the case now.
Shelley, on the other hand, maintains that there are no fully grown - five year old - pigs weighing under 30kg and standing less than 45cm in this country. 
“The public is being misled to purchase a fantasy with the result that pigs being dumped, re-homed or worse - given away and slaughtered.
“I deal with the consequences daily.”
“Those thinking of getting a pig as a pet must do their research and realise that mini pigs do not exist. 
“Few people have the means to cope with 150kg worth of aggressive pig with tusks that can slices their leg open.”

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Wendy touches on another topic which is of great importance as banks now communicate through SMS. 

Here's how to stay safe:

 Could those SMS bank notifications be false security?

The Ombudsman for Banking Services of SA released its 2020 annual report yesterday, revealing that fraud cases dominated the five top complaints categories: current accounts, internet banking, personal loans, credit cards and ATMs.

Current account cases increased by a dramatic 7% from 2019, with complaints relating to fraud, bank fees and charges, and banks not giving notice of account closures account for 80% of current account complaints.

The report features 15 case studies and they make for very compelling reading indeed.

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“These cases are more relatable and engaging than a list of statistics,” Steyn said. “It’s in the telling of the stories that we succeed in our consumer awareness efforts and in changing banking practices, from time to time.” 

Several case studies had the same theme - the bank’s failure to tell their customer about a very real risk of fraud.

In one of them, a bank customer complained to her bank that she wasn’t receiving SMS notifications regarding credit card payments.

She was told there had been a technical issue, but that her SMS notification system was operating again. Cool, she thought, all sorted.

When fraudulent transactions totalling R200,000 went through on her account, without her being notified, the bank told her that because her account had been accessed via her banking app, no SMS notifications were sent to her. That’s because she had failed to register specifically for banking app notifications. 

Can you believe it?!

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The OBS said it was a reasonable assumption that the notifications applied to all notifications on her account - it was unreasonable for the bank to expect customers to explicitly request notifications on their banking app.

And so it was that the bank accepted responsibility for that R200,000.

Pity the bank isn’t named, but the story serves as a strong warning to make sure that your bank sends you SMS notifications about all activity on your account, no matter how the payment or transfer was made.

To learn further about why pigs aren't the way to go for a pet and how to identify the whether or not your SMS notification is a scam. 

Take a listen to the full podcast: 

Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.Listen to more podcasts from Wendy Knowler in the Consumerwatch channel below: 

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