Customers urged to be wary of banking fraud
By Ingrid Katjiukua
FNB Namibia Forensic Manager.
As the year draws to a close, FNB Namibia reminds customers to stay vigilant of banking fraud and cool down the heat on scams that are on the increase this time of the year.
“Scams that target your bank account are getting increasingly sophisticated and more widespread. Whilst we play our part to ensure that your money is secure, there are additional steps that you can take to keep your security details and consequently your bank balance safe,” said Katjiukua.
She explained that fraudsters are organized and may choose their target and the type of fraud based upon research of your online profile, internet spending habits, and or social media. She said fraudsters will go to extraordinary lengths to make you believe that they are genuine and often rely on manipulation attics to get you to give them your banking information.
“They employ various complex strategies to stop you from becoming wise to their tricks, but we can help you identify the different types of fraud and scams, therefore, despite the dynamic nature of fraud, customers can be better prepared to prevent it if they pay careful attention suspicious signs,” she added.
Katjiukua said customers should also verify and report suspicious transactions and whatever story is used, there is usually a sense of urgency and persistence about the payment customers are asked to make because the fraudster does not want them to stop. “Think and verify the transaction and if you are in doubt about a particular payment or suspect you may have been the victim of fraud, get in touch with us right away,” she advised.
She urged customers never to disclose sensitive information such as passwords and PINS to anyone. “Even though internet and cellphone banking make banking more convenient and easily accessible, customers still need to take precautions to protect themselves against fraudulent transactions by ensuring that they are familiar with our digital platforms,” she emphasised.
“Do not under any circumstances reveal your secret access code, PIN, password or other unique means of personal identification to anyone, and especially not to someone claiming to be from the bank, internet service provider or any other institution without first verifying this information this can be used to access your electronic banking facility and scam you of your hard-earned money,” she warned.
She further advised customers to change any of these immediately if they believe that someone may know their secret access code, PIN, password, or other unique means of personal identification and should not use the browser facility to store their banking password in order to avoid having to enter it each time they transact using internet banking, as this can make it easier for fraudsters to access.
“Stay alert when using online marketplaces like Facebook, because scammers use tricks like advertising faulty or counterfeit goods or request upfront payment for items or deals like cars, rental properties, or puppies that do not exist. Fake giveaways can lead to people compromising their personal and financial information. Marketplace scams can also turn into physical threats or unsafe in-person encounters when people agree to meet with a scammer in an unknown location,” said Katjiukua.
She further urged customers to beware of phishing and smishing scams. “Phishing fraud involves sending fraudulent emails to unsuspecting bank customers to obtain their confidential internet banking access codes and passwords. The email addresses used by the fraudsters often seem genuine, as they imply that the email was sent from a legitimate financial institution,” she added.
While smishing, Katjiukua explained is also a reality where customers receive SMS notifications with what seems to be communication from their bank followed by a call under false pretenses whereby customers are manipulated into sharing their PIN or OTP.
“Fraudsters phrase the email in an attempt to lure the recipient into providing confidential information on the spot either by replying or by means of clicking on a link to a site that encourages the customer to disclose her or his bank account number, PIN, and password,” she informed.
Katjiukua said if the recipient responds to such an email by entering or clicking on the link provided in the email, a pop-up window will appear requesting her or him to enter her or his confidential internet banking access details, which usually appears to be the bank’s legitimate website, but it is not.
“Protecting yourself is not simply limited to your bank card, but also includes being observant and practicing safe banking behaviour all around, online, at ATMs, and over the phone. It is important to remember that fraudsters are always looking for ways to scam people so customers must be multiple steps ahead with adequate safety measures to ensure that they are safe from fraud this festive season,” concluded Katjiukua.