Imposter scam resurfaces – bank account holders warned to be alert
First National Bank Forensics has noted with concern the resurfacing of the so-called ‘imposter scam’, where fraudsters pretend to be bank employees trying to coerce clients to execute certain instructions on their cellphones. This may lead to loss of money through e-wallet payments, the bank warned this week after several criminal incidents were reported.
Ingrid Kahona-Katjiukua from FNB Forensics cautioned the public not to fall prey to easy cash scams, especially in difficult financial times like these. According to Kahona-Katjiukua, the fraudster calls people at random and poses as a FNB employee inquiring about funds that need to be released for various reasons. Dividends, policy pay-outs, or rewards for long-standing customers have been used as ruses in the past.
She added that the call, in most cases, is placed to a landline and the customer is then requested to enter a code on their cellphone for release of funds. This code is normally the cellphone banking string; *140*392# or *140*321# followed by what the fraudster then names as a verification code but is in fact the amount the customer is about to transfer to the fraudster – e.g. 4994 ultimately sending N$4,994.
“We urge customers to remain vigilant at all times, calls such these are not from FNB Namibia. The bank will never call a customer or a member of the public to release funds for dividends, policy pay-outs or for any form of receiving or sending money. We also do not require any ‘codes’ from a customer to release funds. Keep in mind that we will also never ask you to go through any steps on your cellphone,” she said.
Customers are urged to be on alert when receiving calls from their banks and to rather practice extra safety precautions, like taking the caller’s details and phone the bank through the switchboard number to confirm that this is not a scam.