Be fraud-alert during the Festive Season

By Bank Windhoek's Executive Officer of Marketing and Corporate Communication Services, Jacquiline Pack.

After a tough COVID-19 impacted year, most people look forward to taking a well-deserved break to spend some quality time with family and friends. It is especially during this period that Banks notice an increase in fraud. Criminals are using social engineering techniques to defraud consumers through online card fraud, proof of payment, and the prevalent cash transfer frauds. Thus, banking customers must remain vigilant at all times. The following are the frequently used criminal methods:

Card cloning: Using a digital device, this is perhaps the most commonly known fraud committed with debit and credit cards. The move to replace the magnetic strip with an electronic chip for all practical purposes, eliminated the possibility of card cloning. There are, however, still cards with both the chip and magnetic strip for the time being, and those cards are still vulnerable to cloning.

Online scam: This type of fraud remains high-risk because it is relatively easy and straightforward to commit. The fraudster only needs the debit or credit card number, the card expiry date, and the three-digit Card Verification Number (CVV) printed on the back of the card to do online shopping. It is crucial to protect the card and have it in sight when transacting at a shop at all times. No business or service provider should ever make photocopies or take photos of a customer's card.

Phishing: This involves the sending of fraudulent emails to customers supposedly from a reputable institution such as their bank, alerting them to update or share details by clicking on a link provided. The link takes customers to a malicious website where the fraudsters harvest the customer's personal information to gain access to their bank account. Bank Windhoek will never send a customer an email to update their details and never include a link. All customers' details need to be verified by the Bank in person.

Vishing: Also known as imposter scams, vishing is described as the act of using the telephone in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The fraudster will pretend to be a bank official and require the customer to give information such as passwords and bank account details to access their accounts. Do not share any information and hang up immediately. No bank will ever call a customer to solicit personal banking details.

Smishing: Like phishing, a message with an urgent tone is sent to the user to take action. The user is asked to provide private information such as passwords or credit card information to take action. Do not click on the link or call the number.

Proof of payment scam: Business owners should be very wary of releasing goods where the customer claims to have paid by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) and provides proof of payment documents as evidence of the payment. The companies should first confirm the deposit into their business account before any goods are released on an EFT payment.

Social media fraud: Fraud committed on Facebook and WhatsApp is increasing because people trust these platforms and the posts advertising goods and services. Goods are advertised, and without any further verification, consumers transfer funds through cash transfer services, with extra for courier services. Once the fraudulent business receives the funds, the money is immediately withdrawn at an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). The consumer cannot trace the seller because all posts and profiles related to the sale are deleted, and phones are not answered. Consumers must be very diligent and only pay once goods are received.

If you are a scam victim or suspect that you are being targeted in any fraud, please contact the Bank Windhoek Customer Contact Centre at Tel: 061 299 1200, or your Branch immediately to report the incident instantly. 

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