WINDHOEK – FNB Namibia has responded to recent media reports about a tourist apparently being robbed of his card and cash at an ATM. The head of FNB Business said the incident once again focused the attention on fraud, especially within the banking sector.
“This is, however, unfortunately not only applicable to individuals, but sadly also to businesses,” said Johan van der Westhuizen, Head: FNB Business.
“Protecting your business against fraudsters should be a priority and being vigilant and over-protective is never wrong,” added Van der Westhuizen. He noted that businesses are common targets for fraudsters all over the world and banks, regulators, security experts and law enforcement authorities continue to explore various measures to protect businesses from fraudulent activities.
According to Van der Westhuizen, “the common thread amongst most scams is that they need to access the client’s confidential information to commit the fraud. Therefore, the golden rule for clients should be not to share business confidential information until they are sure about the legitimacy of the potential recipient.”
He added that additionally, businesses need to ensure that they comply with the Namibia Financial Intelligence Act’s (FIA) verification measures which are enacted by all the banks in Namibia. These measures are designed to protect both individual and business banking clients against fraud.
“Some of the common scams which target business clients include false requests to change bank account details (also known as the letter head scam), the deposit and refund scam, as well as business identity theft where fraudsters clone details of an existing business,” he said.
To help protect your businesses FNB recommends updating all changes to business information. “Make it a priority to update all your business information with your bank. Information such as the physical or postal addresses and details of the business owner(s) is important in protecting one’s business against fraud,” said Van der Westhuizen. He also advised clients to report all suspicious incidents, warning that clients often ignore suspicious or fraudulent behaviour when there are no immediate losses. “However, even if there are no losses, it is essential to inform your bank of any suspicious behaviour concerning your banking details,” he cautioned.
The head of FNB Business further advised businesses to closely monitor business bank accounts. “Every business client receives at least monthly statements through their choice of communication, such as email or post. However, it is important to regularly, preferably daily, use online channels to view statements to monitor and reconcile activity on your account,” he said.
“Access to a business account is often delegated by the owners and or directors to relevant officials for very practical reasons. The fewer the better and always ensure that at least two officials need to co-sign or electronically authorise transactions. Be involved as this makes the process much more transparent and potentially safer,” advised Van der Westhuizen.
“We continue to educate and encourage our clients to be vigilant at all times because fraudsters continue to come up with new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting clients. Vigilance remains the best approach to protecting your business against fraud,” advised Van der Westhuizen.