Bank Windhoek warns its business and individual customers to be vigilant when accepting proof of payments for goods or services rendered.
Customers are urged to not release goods on the basis of a deposit slip, an electronic transfer slip or proof of an internet banking transfer transaction being produced by a customer. They should always first verify that the funds have in fact been deposited into the account. It is important to establish whether it was a cash or a cheque deposit because cheque deposits have a clearance period of up to four days. The cheque deposit may show on the account statement, and if the cheque is dishonoured, the deposit will be reversed to the loss of the seller.
“Just as more and more businesses do not accept cheques as proof of payment, because of the high risk of fraud associated with them, we advise businesses and individual customers not to accept deposit slips as a confirmation of payment without further verification and confirmation”, said Johnny Truter, Manager of Forensic Services at Bank Windhoek.
Customers can verify deposits by calling their respective Bank Windhoek branches. Always ensure to ask the branch whether it was a cash or a cheque deposit. The transaction description may not always reflect a cheque deposit because the depositor may have asked the teller to insert his name instead of the usual “Cheque deposit” description. Customers can also arrange with their customers that goods will only be released after the deposit has been verified.
Below are some tips to prevent deposit fraud:
- Always ask for identification documents and verify against the physical person. Be aware that identification theft usually accompany fraud in the form of stolen or forged documents to create positive identification and trust;
- Always verify the alleged deposit with your bank. Do not call a phone number provided by the client, but rather find it in the directory. Verify even where an SMS or e-mail notification of the deposit from your bank was received.
- Always ask the bank whether it was cash or a cheque deposit.
- It is possible that the deposit slip, an electronic transfer slip or proof of an internet banking transfer transaction, provided as proof of payment by the fraudster, may have been forged and details changed after the deposit and the bank stamp was placed thereon;
- Fraudsters may change the information on the bank stamped deposit slip provided as proof of payment to indicate that cash was deposited while in fact it was a cheque;
- When a cheque deposit was made, be aware of clearance periods. It may take five days for the cheque to be cleared. Do not release goods before the cheque is cleared. To do so, is at your own risk.
- During the clearance period, the cheque deposited might be returned and not honoured for various reasons. It could be that the cheque was stolen and fraudulently completed with a forged signature; it was a forged cheque; the bank account of the cheque issued might have been closed; or there might be insufficient funds to honour the cheque;
- Be very cautious where the client is absent and wants to do the transaction over the telephone or email and immediately after supplying a deposit slip, sends a courier to collect the goods. A big order just before closing time should be handled as suspicious. Fraudsters may do it to avoid the identification verification process.