Financial Fraud: Businesses to be vigilant to avoid losing money to fraudsters
The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) say it is committed to educate consumers about the various types of financial fraud and how clients of banks can protect themselves from fraudsters, by being alert and recognising the signs of fraudulent schemes and scams.
“The Bankers Association of Namibia therefore would like to warn the public on fraudsters targeting businesses in Namibia. Although customers of the various banks have been warned via the media and also via personal e-mails and correspondence it seems as if the ‘Change of Banking Details’ or “Letterhead Scam” fraud is escalating”, said Christo de Vries, Chairman of the Bankers Association of Namibia.
Customers have made transfers to fraudulently opened accounts in South Africa or Namibia, after having reacted to letters received which advised of new banking details. The scam works as follows: A letter is sent on a fraudulent letterhead, supposedly from a Supplier/Creditor which indicates that they have changed their banking details. The new banking details are also conveniently provided; some of the creditors would then make an electronic payment to this newly provided account, only to discover at a later stage (when the legitimate supplier queries non-payment), that the provided bank details were a scam.
The scam recently escalated to a new level of authenticity when fraudsters even quoted the debtors account number, outstanding balance owed to their creditor and their actual address. The notification of account change was received by e-mail, which appeared to have originated from the client’s e-mail system.
The Bankers Association of Namibia would like to warn all customers and request them to take the time to phone any debtors and to make 100% sure that indeed banking details have changed. Furthermore they also advised debtors departments not to distribute account information to anyone, unless they can identify the person requesting the information.
They must not change debtors account information, unless it is authorised and verified. Customers must not verify any information by calling the telephone numbers on letters/e-mails that is sent to them, rather use internal systems for contact details or the local telephone directory.
Creditors Department should not change bank account details without first confirming account name and account number with the relevant bank.