THE Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL) recently launched its Fraud Awareness Campaign at the First National Bank Lesotho (FNB) headquarters in Maseru amid calls for clients and the public to remain vigilant against possible acts of criminality by fraudsters.
Through the month-long campaign themed 'Be vigilant, safeguard your bank information', the bankers' association aims to increase awareness of possible fraud and educate clients and the public on the appropriate use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), bank cards and electronic banking platforms.
The launch ceremony was graced by the managing director of the Lesotho Post Bank (LPB), Molefi Leqhaoe, his Nedbank counterpart, Nkau Matete; the Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB)'s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Thabiso Tsenki; FNB's Chief Operations Officer, Mpiti Lenkoe and other officials in the banking sector.
BAL chairperson Molefi Leqhaoe urged clients and the public to remain vigilant during the festive season, saying criminals were on the prowl because of the increased exchange of money, increased spending habits, receipt of bonuses and other activities linked to the Christmas and New Year holidays.
"As the bankers association, we are sending this message to our customers and the nation at large to be vigilant and make sure that they protect their money properly," Mr Leqhaoe said.
Mr Leqhaoe said it was common for banking staff to collude with external criminals and international syndicates. He however, said they had moved to counter such activities by introducing "internal fraud awareness programmes where we reinforce ethical behaviour".
His sentiments were echoed by Mr Matete who said that fraudsters looked for softer targets within an organisation, not only in banks, to perpetuate their criminal acts. He said they had embarked on awareness programmes aimed at ensuring banking staff steered clear of criminal activities.
"As the banks we have people with high ethical standards and we are doing our best do carry out fraud awareness campaigns.
"We have started this internal awareness campaigns so that our staff are very much aware and are trained to know that there will always be softer targets," Mr Matete said.
For his part, Mr Tsenki said the banks had systems to help detect cases of fraud. He also called on clients to be cooperative whenever they were contacted over suspicions of irregularities in their transactions.
"We have systems in place that track the transactional behaviour of our customers.
"For example, if you have an issue with your card you will be called and asked a long list of questions in relation to your account to make sure we are dealing with the owner of the card," ," Mr Tsenki said.
He said costumers should not accept help from strangers and that security guards stationed at ATMs were available to assist them. He also said that clients could contact their 24 hour toll free numbers available on their signage.
BAL was established in 2006. It is an umbrella body bringing together FNB, SLB and the LPB to discuss and agree on issues of mutual interest in the banking sector.