BANKERS Association of Lesotho (BAL), on Monday, launched a fraud awareness campaign at Lancers Inn in Maseru. Held under the theme “Be vigilant, don’t be a victim of fraud and don’t let it happen to you”, the campaign is meant to alert depositors in particular and the public in general on some of the common criminal activities in the banking industry.
According to BAL Chairman, Mpho Vumbukani, the objective of the fraud awareness campaign is to sensitise depositors and the nation at large about possible criminal or fraudulent activities “especially as we enter the festive season”.
“Fraud maybe committed internally and externally by criminals and international syndicates who employ very sophisticated techniques,” Mr Vumbukani said at the launch attended by four BAL members, namely First National Bank (FNB) Lesotho, Lesotho Post Bank, Nedbank Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank.
Mr Vumbukani added that all the banks in Lesotho have international fraud awareness programmes to reinforce the ethical behaviour, adding that they are making inroads on that front. He urged the media to join hands with the BAL to conscietise the public about external fraud which can lead to many social and economic problems if not nipped in the bud.
“Our message to the public is for them to take precautions when using ATMs and credit cards such as not accepting help from strangers at ATMs, keeping their personal identity number (PIN) a secret, signing their payments card at the back for both debit and credit cards as an additional measure against fraudsters using their card, safeguard their ATM card, credit card, debit card, cheque book and bank statement at all times, protecting their identification document, reporting suspicious behaviour to the bank and police as well as reporting lost cards immediately,” Mr Vumbukani said.
He further noted that fraudsters had become very sophisticated and have since forayed to the electronic banking platforms such as internet banking and mobile banking.
“Fraudsters can hack into your computer systems and obtain information including your passwords to gain access into your account and illegally siphon money,” Mr Vumbukani said.
“We therefore advise people to never reply emails that require entering personal details and never enter user identification, password or account number into a non-secure web page. “Remember no bank can ever request you to confirm confidential details through email and never log from a link and type the web address every time when you log in for online banking.”
He said depositors should be more vigilant at this time of the year as criminals know they would be spending a bit more than usual while others would be getting their bonuses.
Since banks are at the centre of monetary exchanges, Mr Vumbukani said, it was imperative for BAL to ensure depositors and their money are protected and banks offer value to their clients. It is, thus, their duty to inform and warn the general public about how they should conduct themselves in the handling of their money, he added.
“Fraud affects all of us and this is a message for everyone who uses a bank or aspires to be a depositor in the future,” he said.