FNB Namibia has warned against the growing trend of “Associated robberies” which happens when a person is robbed on the way to the bank (to deposit cash) or after he/she has left the bank (after withdrawing cash). Ingrid Veueza Kahona-Katjiukua, Forensics at FNB Namibia elaborates: “We have all read about the latest wave of robberies that took place after large cash withdrawals had been made by customers at banks in the country. The most significant method is where offenders (spotters) pretend to be clients in the bank with the intention of identifying a potential victim. Please do not be fooled, as women are also used as spotters.”
The perpetrator or spotter inside the Bank will pass on the information to their accomplices who are usually outside near the bank. The robbers then either confront the customer outside after they leave the bank or they follow the person to an isolated location where law enforcement intervention will be unlikely, such as their home, at office (place of business) or en route to their destination.
FNB Namibia wishes to warn customers to be alert about suspicious activities such as groups of people sitting in one vehicle, observing the bank and its operations for extended periods. One should further look out for nervous or agitated behaviour or a person talking on their cellphone when leaving the bank and be wary of surroundings and on the look-out for possible vehicles following them.
FNB Namibia remains committed to the safety of all customers and the bank’s floor walkers are on extra alert for such incidents, and are tasked with the responsibility of observing and ensuring that all persons in the banking hall are legitimate customers by assisting customers in queues. “We urge all our customers who regularly make large cash withdrawals to make use of alternative solutions to suit their needs, e.g. the use of electronic transfers or consolidated payments. FNB Namibia offers a huge variety of options for customers which negate the necessity of withdrawing large sums of money. These include Bulk eWallet, electronic transfers, cellphone banking, and the FNB banking App. We ask customers to speak to us so that we can find a safer solution for all their banking cash needs.”
The Bank will continue to work with the Namibian Police Service to ensure that the number of associated robberies decreases and to ensure effective investigation of these cases. The public is also encouraged to report suspicious activities to their local police stations or anonymously through the Crime Report Tip-Off Line Number 0800003312. In conclusion Ingrid said that the bank also urges customers to ensure that they are covered under their short-term insurance policy cover for cash losses.