FNB Namibia, as a responsible citizen, is proud to create enhanced awareness during the 2016 International Fraud Awareness week which runs from November 13 – 19. Ingrid Veueza Kahona-Katjiukua, forensics manager at FNB Namibia Ltd, states that the week is organised by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and is a global effort dedicated to fraud awareness, detection and prevention.
She adds: “Organisations worldwide lose an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenue to fraud, according to the 2016 ACFE Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse. This translates to a global average of almost U$3 trillion annually. Fraud takes many shapes and forms, such as corporate fraud, consumer fraud, tax fraud, identity theft and many more. As a bank, it is our duty to protect the money that our customers have entrusted to us and we thus wish to create even more awareness this week. Allow us to educate Namibians on three of the most most prevalent forms of fraud that we are aware of and faced with regularly.”
People will receive a call from a person introducing themselves to be an employee of FNB Namibia. The person would advise that you either have an investment that matured or a policy with FNB or any other insurance company and that you are the beneficiary to the policy and it is due for payout.
The fraudster would then advise you that for funds to be released you need to dial a certain code and they guide you through to dial the wallet/cellphone banking string and ultimately part with your money and or link the fraudster’s cellphone to your account profile which then allows the fraudster to transact on your account uninterruptedly.
Be aware that no bank will ask you to do an eWallet payment or request you to dial a code (*140*392#), for funds to be released, not even for an insurance or life assurance policy. This is unheard of and a scam. If you are called via the telephone and instructed to do an eWallet payment to release funds, ask for actual policy number, take the person’s details, name, telephone number and title of the person they claim to be. Do a direct follow-up with that specific company to verify the information for legitimacy.
Hang up the phone and call the company back via their switchboard number in the telephone directory, and check if you have been contacted and did indeed win any money.
Report this to the Banking Institution at tel. (061) 299 2222/2101 Fraud Division.
DATING AND ROMANCE SCAMS
Dating and romance scams try to lower your defences by appealing to your romantic or compassionate side. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. The most common targets are women over 40, who are divorced, widowed, single, but every age group could be at risk.
Here’s how the scam usually works. You are contacted online (Facebook) by someone who appears interested in you. He or she may have a profile you can read or a picture that is emailed to you. For weeks, even months, you may chat back and forth with one another, forming a connection. But ultimately, it is going to happen—your new-found “friend” is going to ask you for money.
Parcel (with money/jewellery or any other valuable items) would supposedly be couriered over to you. All documents (waybills) will be made available to you but all of them are fake documents. Parcel will be held up at a courier company in SA and you are ultimately requested to pay up for release. Or, the “friend” would decide to visit and meet you in person. He/she then would supposedly be held up at the airport by immigration or customs and you are ultimately requested to pay for him/her to proceed.
So – you send money… but rest assured the requests won’t stop there. There will be more hardships that only you can help alleviate by sending more money.
How to protect yourself from dating and romance scams
Try to remove the emotion from your decision-making no matter how caring or persistent they seem.
Think twice before sending money to someone you have only recently met online or haven’t met in person. Never provide credit card or online account details to anyone by email. If you agree to meet in person, tell family and friends where you are going.
Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for upfront payment of funds.
While making classified transactions, be wary and vigilant to ensure that you are not a victim of crime. Scammers will pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads on classifieds websites, in print classifieds, etc. The ad can be for anything, e.g. rental properties, pets, used cars, boats, horses, etc., and may even include pictures and other details – often copied from a genuine seller’s ad and advertised at a very low price.
When you show interest in the item, you may be requested for an upfront payment to secure the item, due to high demand. Once payment is done, that’s the last you hear of the scammer. You will receive no goods and contact will be disconnected.
Equally so, you need to be wary of scammers posing as genuine buyers and asking you for assistance for upfront costs like transportation, airtime, etc., with a promise of reimbursement of fraudulent cheque payments/overpayments. If situations make you feel uncomfortable, rather be safe and avoid the deal than lament being a victim later. Follow your gut feeling and let the other party know that you will never take any risk under any circumstances.
How can you prevent becoming a victim?
If something sounds too good to be true, it most probably is.
Don’t be afraid to ask a buyer or seller questions – if they have nothing to hide no amount of questions should be unwelcome to them.
If you’re interested in buying something and the seller can’t show you the item – don’t pay for them before you have inspected them.
Don’t hand over an item to a potential buyer unless you are 100 percent sure that the funds they have deposited are available in your account and that you are able to use them.
Take note that some potential buyers ask money for petrol or airtime. Don’t give potential buyers/sellers money for anything else except for the item that interests you.
Sell on your terms – don’t let a potential buyer dictate terms to you.
Don’t meet a potential buyer or seller in a dodgy area. Insist on meeting at your local police station or at a public area like a shopping mall.
When it comes to company names used in a web-based email address, alarm bells should be going off (such as firstname.lastname@example.org, @hotmail.com, @gmail.com, @ymail.com etc). Fraudsters also sometimes send victims a SMS which looks like an InContact message. Especially when they plan to meet to exchange the merchandise.