Cybercrooks use Bank of Namibia’s name in scamsBy: JO-MARÉ DUDDY
THE Bank of Namibia (BoN) has become the latest institution used by scamsters to trick people out of their money.
The central bank yesterday issued a statement saying one of the scam SMSes doing the rounds currently informs people that they’ve won prize money which they have to claim from the BoN.
The BoN said it has been “inundated with concerns over a number of questionable business activities being carried out in different forms in Namibia through business concepts presentations, unsolicited short message services (SMSes) or telephone calls to individual cellphones”.
The Bankers’ Association of Namibia (BAN) also issued a statement yesterday warning businesses that they are increasingly becoming the target of fraudsters. Last week, BAN issued a similar statement cautioning the public.
BoN statistics show that Namibians lost N$21 million to economic crimes last year, of which about N$12,4 million – nearly 60 per cent of all the money lost – were losses suffered as a result of internet fraud. Internet fraud skyrocketed by 1 678 per cent from 2010 to 2011, the BoN said.
BAN president Christo de Vries yesterday said it seems as if fraud through the ‘change of banking details’ and ‘letterhead scam’ is escalating. Customers have made transfers to fraudulently opened accounts in South Africa, after having reacted to letters received which advised of new banking details, he said.
“The scam recently escalated to a new level of authenticity when fraudsters even quoted the debtors account number, outstanding balance owed to their creditor and their actual address,” De Vries said.
Customers should take the time to phone any debtors and to make “100 percent” sure that indeed banking details have changed, BAN said.
Ndangi Katoma, the BoN’s director of strategic communications and financial sector development, said the central bank is investigating “questionable business practices with a view to determine the appropriate cause of action”.
The bank has requested promoters of various suspected schemes to come forward and make presentations to the BoN on their activities with a view for the bank to advice the public appropriately, Katoma said.