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Bank warns against new wave of ‘vishing’ scams

Bank warns against new wave of ‘vishing’ scams

By Jacquiline Pack
Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer of Marketing and Corporate Communication Services.

In the past, the physical cloning of bankcards was one of the most prevalent methods fraudsters used to steal money from bank accounts. The introduction of chip cards forced fraudsters to seek other ways and methods to gain access to bank accounts.

These days, fraudsters have noticed that humans are the most vulnerable link in the security chain. As a result, fraudsters have shifted their focus to exploit this weakness. This has led to what we now call “vishing”, which is used on a large scale by fraudsters to target banking customers country- and worldwide.

Vishing takes place when the fraudster contacts a victim and pretends to be a bank official. The fraudster uses social engineering techniques to convince the unsuspecting customer to confirm their identity and disclose other confidential information. The customer willingly cooperates because he or she is under the impression that they are actually talking to a bank official.

Statistics indicate that fraudsters focus mostly on persons older than 60, but this can vary. The reason for targeting senior citizens is the notion that they are believed to be not technologically savvy and that they are easy to manipulate.

How vishing occurs

It is suspected that fraudsters gather information on their victims before they make the first call. Information includes name, address, telephone number and, in some instances, the branch where an account is held. The fraudster then calls the victim, mostly to a landline.

The social engineering marker that the fraudster uses to convince the customer to cooperate, includes a tone of urgency, which convinces the customer to take action immediately. An example that fraudsters may use is that there can be financial losses with fraudulent card transactions which have been identified on the customer’s account and that transactions can easily be stopped if the customer gives their cooperation.

Another popular way to convince the customer to cooperate is to inform them that software upgrades are required or their account will be blocked. In some instances, the fraudster pretends to be a police officer who arrested a person for possible card fraud and that they require from the customer verification of card numbers and accounts to confirm the fraud.

When the trust of the customer is gained, they are asked to supply their account’s username and password to access digital banking services. At this stage, the customer believes everything the fraudster says and gives their full cooperation.

Armed with the confidential information obtained from the customer, the fraudster now has full access of the account. With this information, customers will also unwittingly be registered for other digital services such as banking apps and electronic money services such as EasyWallet, making it easy to withdraw money immediately at any Automatic Teller Machine (ATM).
In such instances, it is rare that funds are recovered because the customer willingly shared the information with the fraudsters, and banks will not be held liable for losses incurred in this manner.

How to protect yourself

Never reveal or share personal information or information relating to your accounts with anyone over the phone, through an email, or via the internet unless the party is known to you and is reputable. Below are a few tips to protect yourself:

• Know that banks, such as Bank Windhoek, will never ask you to confirm your personal information over the phone.
• If you receive a transaction notification that was not done by you, call your bank and stop all transactions. If you act swiftly, your money may be recovered.
• As a general rule, do not have high transaction limits.


Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.