Fraudsters Adopt New Tactics

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK A new fraud scam has surfaced. In a statement recently, FNB warned the public that fraudsters are now combining the phishing e-mail scam with what is known as the Nigerian 419 advance fee scam. Senior Manager of Banking Operations, Ester Kali, said that the fraudsters upon obtaining confidential banking information of clients via the phishing e-mail scam, funds are then electronically transferred to different accounts. “Customers are enticed to respond to an e-mail from Australia lottery indicating that they are selected by a computer-generated lottery of internet users as potential winners of US$250 000 or an X amount,” Kali said. In order to claim their winnings they have to contact their claim agent, a certain “Barrister Duke Nelson” to guide them through the claim process. An advance payment is however required to cover tax certificates and to pay for anti-drug certificates, anti-terrorist certificates and money laundering certificates, et cetera. without which the winnings cannot be transferred. The claim agent also offers to arrange for a sponsor for the advance fee required from the winner(s), which can be refunded upon receipt of the lottery proceeds. A fraudulent electronic transfer is then made to the winner’s accounts as being the sponsorship, after which the winner is to withdraw the funds in cash and redeposit it to another account as provided by the “barrister” [they could well use any other name], Kali warned. She provided the following critical information to customers that they never interact with the sender or respond to the e-mail if they had not entered the particular lottery. Kali, who commands 18 years of banking in FNB advised that customers should never respond or reply to e-mails that require them to provide their personal information and/or banking details directly into the e-mail or submit that information some other way. “Bear in mind that if the winnings are legitimate there will not be a need for an advance payment; and if the sponsor can transfer the money to the client’s account, why can’t they transfer the money directly to the account of the third party?” she questioned. It is important for customers to verify the legitimacy of the funds deposited into their accounts before any withdrawals are made, she advised. Recently, FNB issued another warning of a fraud targeting car rental companies and the hospitality industry mostly guesthouses, lodges and travel guides. In this scam, FNB investigations found that the fraud syndicates obtain critical information and details about the targeted merchant from the Internet by sending an e-mail to the merchant requesting a quotation for vehicle rental and/or accommodation for a certain number of people wishing to visit Namibia to attend one or the other conference or business trip.