13 June 2019

Namibia: Banks Warn of New Scam Technique

Photo: Sulpplied
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Windhoek — The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) is warning the public of the latest scam whereby fraudsters use a new technique to scam clients out of their money. "In the scam fraudsters call clients pretending to be bank staff and target cellphone banking, iBank and eWallet users specifically," said Sarel van Zyl, Chairpman of BAN.

Fraudsters are known to send a bogus SMS stating that the client received a complimentary E-ticket, with a number stated, and a message that the E-ticket can be used any day. Note that banks do not issue E-tickets. The purpose of the SMS is to coax the client to call the SMS sender's number. The client will then be taken to their usual bank process, where the client will "unknowingly" EasyWallet or eWallet money to the fraudsters.

Alternatively, customers will receive a false SMS from 76779 stating that they have been chosen to receive interest money from their bank, with a prompt to call 061 299 2211 for more information. Customers will then receive a call from a private number to receive details on how to withdraw the 'winnings' (as per the fake SMS received), and the customer/s are then guided to make a transfer unknowingly to the fraudsters. These transactions can be eWallet or Cardless cash withdrawals through cellphone banking, in the case of FNB.

Customers should also be aware that fraudsters also convince clients to perform 'updates' on Cellphone Banking, and in the process get clients to "unknowingly" register for the Bank Windhoek or FNB banking apps. In the process they ask for the username and 'old' PIN to activate the so-called 'updates'. After the call ends, the fraudsters log in and transfer funds out of the accounts and immediately withdraw the funds.

"We urge all bank customers to be vigilant and to also take note of an old scam that still persists where fraudsters call customers at random on landlines claiming to be bank staff and informing customer about funds that need to be released for various reasons e.g. dividends, policy pay-outs, system updates, or rewards for long standing customers. In this scam the fraudster then persuades the customer to access their cellphone banking unknowingly, and ultimately send money via cellphone banking."

"We emphasise once again that no b7Bank will ever call a customer or a member of the public to release or receive funds. Banks will also never ask clients to divulge confidential information such as their PINs, passwords, usernames over the phone or in emails. Clients should be alert of such scams and call their bank helpline or forensic department immediately," said Van Zyl.

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