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Vigilance beats fraud

Vigilance beats fraud

By Hayley Allen
Bank Windhoek’s Head of Strategic Communication.

During the Festive Season, fraudsters also increase their activity to trick, coax and swindle customers into cooperating to steal their hard-earned money. They do this in various ways. The common methods are phishing, fishing, and smishing. These tactics are known as social engineering, where fraudsters prey on the vulnerabilities of human beings instead of systems and system vulnerabilities.

Phishing involves fraudsters sending emails to customers pretending to contact them from a reputable institution such as their bank. The tone of the email is normally urgent, encouraging customers to update or share their details by clicking on a link in the email. Once a customer clicks on the link, the fraudsters will have gained access to the customer’s computer and all the customer’s sensitive information. Bank Windhoek never sends customers an email asking them to update their details and will never provide a link in an email for the customer to do so.

Vishing, or imposter scams, is the telephonic equivalent of phishing. It is the act of using the telephone to scam the customer into surrendering confidential information such as passwords and bank account details to gain access to their accounts. Customers should never share confidential information or their banking details with anyone telephonically. If a customer finds themselves in such a situation, they should immediately end the call and notify their branch. Banks do not call their customers to solicit personal banking details.

Smishing stands for SMS Phishing. Like phishing, a message with an urgent tone is sent to the customer to act. The customer is asked to provide private information such as passwords or credit card information. Customers are advised not to click on any link via SMS and not to call the number.

For self-protection, customers should never share personal and account information, especially their banking Personal Identity Number (PIN)by telephone, email, or via the internet. They should also know that banks like Bank Windhoek will never ask them to confirm their personal information over the phone. If they receive a transaction notification that they did not do, customers should call the bank and stop all transactions.

Vigilance against fraudster tricks and scams remains one of the most effective defenses to curb theft and fraud. Customers who fall victim to a scam or suspect being targeted in a hoax should contact the Bank Windhoek Customer Contact Centre at Tel: 061 299 120 to immediately report the incident.


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A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.