BAL launches fraud awareness campaign



Nedbank Managing Director PJ Bouwer
Nedbank Managing Director PJ Bouwer

Rethabile Pitso

THE Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL), on Monday, launched a fraud awareness campaign in Maseru to alert depositors in particular and the public in general on some of the common criminal activities in the banking industry.

Held under the theme “Be vigilant at all times when using your internet banking, POS and ATM”, the campaign is meant to highlight the possible criminal or fraudulent activities ahead of the festive season.

BAL consists First National Bank Lesotho, Lesotho Post Bank, Nedbank Lesotho and Standard Lesotho Bank (SLB).

In a speech read on his behalf by Nedbank Managing Director PJ Bouwer, BAL chairman and SLB Chief Executive, Mpho Vumbukani, said since banks were at the centre of monetary exchanges, it was imperative for the association to ensure depositors and their money are protected and banks offer value to their clients.

“Lately, we have received reports of cloned cards which are on the rise. Cloning happens when criminals steal information on clients’ cards and reproduce similar cards to defraud clients on their cards,” he said.

“I must emphasise at this point that this crime involves international syndicates and it currently a cause for concern globally. Cases at cloned cards have been reported even in our country, so Basotho have been victims, especially when they travel to South Africa and abroad.”

Mr Vumbukani said among precautions depositors must make is not accepting help from strangers, keeping their PIN a secret, safeguarding their ATM, credit or debit cards and reporting lost cards as well as suspicious behavior to the bank immediately.

“With regards to electronic banking platforms such as Internet banking and mobile banking, we are aware that fraudsters have become very sophisticated,” he said.

“They can hack your computer systems and obtain information including your passwords to gain access into your account in order to illegally siphon money from our depositors.”

To prevent such a breach, Mr Vumbukani said account holders should never reply to emails that require personal details or give out their user ID, password, or account number into a non-secure web page.

He said customers who lost money due to would not be refunded by the banks, adding that users had an obligation to use their bank information responsibly.

“I therefore want to reiterate that these banking platforms are safe and convenient, but users have an obligation to use them responsibly. I am saying obligation with emphasis here because if a customer loses money to fraud and during our investigations, we establish that they have been irresponsible in the handling of the account, we as the banks have no obligation to refund the customer,” said Mr Vumbukani.

“A typical example is one of customers who give their family members access to use their ATM cards, be it their spouses, partners or children.

“We handle numerous cases where account holders come back to us to claim that their money is being stolen, only to discover that the culprits are family members. Banks usually advise customers in such instances to issue secondary cards which can be controlled and monitored.”

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