14 to 20 November is International Fraud Week. Banking fraud is a growing problem in Namibia, with many clients being defrauded by fraudsters using a whole range of methods.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc., or ACFE, describes fraud as encompassing actions that are meant to deceive for financial or personal gain. Fraud costs billions of dollars in damage to companies, governments, and individuals each year, according to ACFE.
Banking institutions, including Nedbank Namibia, are required by the Bank of Namibia to strengthen their surveillance systems and institute adequate and appropriate internal controls to combat fraud. In order to avoid losing money to fraudsters, clients of Nedbank need to learn about the various methods used by them.
The Bank of Namibia says that in 2020, control measures in place had the desired effect since the amount involved in fraudulent activities decreased from N$29.4 million recorded in 2019 to N$25.7 million in 2020, but the actual amount of financial loss suffered increased from N$19.8 million in 2019 to N$20.5 million in 2020. The total number of cases escalated from 238 to 258.
Nedbank Namibia wants its clients and the public at large to be armed with the knowledge that will help them to protect their hard-earned money from fraudsters.
Selma Kaulinge, Nedbank’s Communication Manager says, “In sports, it is said that attack is the best form of defence. In this instance, knowledge is the best defence against fraud. We want our clients to understand the various scams that fraudsters use to steal money. Understanding these methods will help clients to protect themselves from falling prey to them”.
Two of the many methods that fraudsters use to scam you out of your hard-earned money are phishing and smishing. These are a method where fraudsters send an email, SMS or social media post which looks like an official communication from Nedbank or other reputable organisation, although it is not.
SIM swaps and number porting are other methods often used by fraudsters. Once fraudsters have access to your banking details, they will often do a SIM swap or number port on your cellphone to intercept your banking notifications such as SMS notifications and OTP’s.
Malware is another commonly used method. Fraudsters send emails that appear to be from Nedbank or another reputable organisation, when in fact they don’t. These emails have attachments or links that contain malicious software, which is downloaded onto your device if you click on the link or attachment.
Change of banking details scam is another method favoured by fraudsters. In this scam, you will receive a letter from one of your suppliers saying that their banking details have changed and asked for all future payments to be made into their new account.
In the deposit scam, a fraudster will send you fake proof of payment to try to trick you into believing that a payment was made into your account.
Advanced fee/419 scam is another well-known scam. This involves any scam in which fraudsters persuade someone to give them funds in advance in the expectation that they will receive something of a higher value in return.
Vishing is social engineering over the phone; it involves a fraudster posing as an employee of the bank or other reputable organisation who calls a client to ask for personal information such as their card number and PIN, Nedbank profile number and password, ID number or access to their cellphone or laptop through software that they need to download.
“The most common scam involves a fraudster posing as an employee from Nedbank’s fraud or forensic department calling you and saying that they need your card number and PIN or your internet banking details, username, and password in order to reverse a debit order or fraudulent transaction. They may even ask you to download software like AnyDesk or TeamViewer to assist in reversing the transaction” Kaulinge highlighted.
She added that fraudsters can also pretend to be Nedbank employee and offer to assist you with opening an account or linking your debit card to your account. It can also be a call pretending from someone claiming to be a representative from an IT company or network service provider, asking clients to allow them to access their Wi-Fi network or computer to help solve a problem like increasing network speed, upgrading security software, removing a virus, or trying to sell them a software licence.
“Clients need to know that Nedbank will NEVER ask a client for their internet banking details and password or card PIN or CVV (the three- or four-digit security number found on the front or back of the card) to reverse a transaction or debit order, open a new account or link their debit card to their account. Therefore never give a third-party control of your computer or share your Wi-Fi network password. Clients should be suspicious if they receive a call out of the blue from a service provider to do repairs on their network or computer” she emphasised.
In closing, Kaulinge warned clients not to trust caller identity as fraudsters often use number-masking software to make it look like the call is from Nedbank or other reputable organisation when it isn’t.
“If a client’s card PIN or Nedbank internet banking details has been compromised, they should change it immediately. The client should select a unique password that is not similar to the compromised password.”