WINDHOEK - The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) says it is committed to the education of consumers about financial fraud and how clients of banks can protect themselves from fraudsters, by being alert and recognizing signs of potential fraud.
“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’ and 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, after having reacted to letters received, which advised them about new banking details,” said De Vries. The scam works as follows, a letter is sent on a fraudulent letterhead, supposedly from a supplier or 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,” he explained. 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 is usually received by e-mail, which appear to have originated “from the client’s e-mail system”. The association warns all customers and requests them to take the time to phone any debtors and to make 100 percent sure that banking details have indeed changed.
Moreover, all officials working in debtors departments are advised not to distribute account information to anyone, unless they can identify the person requesting the information and not to change debtors account information, unless it is authorized and verified.
Customers are also advised never to verify any information, by calling the telephone number on a letter/e-mail that is sent to them, but rather to use internal systems for contact details or the local telephone directory. Creditors departments should also not change bank account details without first confirming account name and account numbers with the relevant banks.