By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK FNB Namibia Holdings has warned Namibian businesspeople about the reappearance of fraud syndicates in South Africa that are trying to defraud Namibian companies. This is not the first time these syndicates have surfaced in Namibia and FNB issued a similar warning to businesspeople only four to five months ago after several incidents of fraud. A statement released by FNB says there are signs that there is Namibian involvement in the fraud syndicates. Their Namibian contacts allow them to obtain critical information on the product range and prices before they contact Namibian businesses. FNB says the syndicates carry out the fraud by means of telephonic orders placed with local companies. The two parties then normally agree that the supposed buyer should make a direct payment to the bank account of the Namibian supplier by means of an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). They then confirm the order for the services required by an amount credited against the supplier’s account. The fraudsters normally “deposit” an amount exceeding what the supplier quoted. According to FNB, they also send a faxed copy of an electronic payment to the service provider as proof of payment. On the same day or the day following, the defrauders contact the supplier informing them that they [the defrauders] have, during the processing of the EFT, accidentally deposited more money than what was initially quoted and thus request the supplier to reimburse them with the difference with a direct electronic transfer into the defrauders’ account held in South Africa. The supplier discovers after two or three days the debiting of the account with an amount, equal or slightly less than the amount credited to the account. In the meantime, the fraudsters stop their cheque or report such cheques as stolen. By that time, the supplier has already transferred the funds in favour of the defrauder’s account thinking it was a genuine reimbursement on the over-payment made at the initial stage of the transaction. The syndicates produce their own fake EFT Remittance advices by generating a word document copied from the normal remittance advice the supplier receives from a bank when making an EFT payment. “We would like to draw the attention of Namibian businesses to this, and caution them to be on high alert when requested to refund an amount that is overpaid to their accounts,” FNB said. The bank invites people to feel at liberty to contact any FNB Namibia Branch in the event businesses receive such communication. FNB will confirm whether the payment made to such accounts is in fact an EFT payment, or perhaps a cheque payment disguised as an Electronic Funds Transfer.
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