N$600 000 lost through e-wallet scam

Martin Endjala

First National Bank (FNB) of Namibia has confirmed that a total of N$600 000 is estimated to have been lost through e-wallet scams that targeted its clients between August 2022 and August 2023.

The bank’s Retail Executive Officer, Nangula Kauluma revealed this yesterday during a media briefing after the bank received multiple complaints from clients who lost their money in this way.

She said a total number of 788 transactions were compromised which resulted in N$600 000 getting lost and not reaching their intended recipients.

Kauluma pleaded with clients to maintain a high level of vigilance when handling their Personal Identification Number (PIN) and One-Time-Pin (OTP) to avoid becoming victims of fraudsters. She emphasized that people should not share their personal information with anyone else.

She said the bank remains seriously concerned about the way opportunistic criminals are exploiting customers to obtain critical information that enables them to subsequently employ their criminal scheme.

She stated that the bank is working with law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to task while informing that some individuals have been apprehended.

“The bank has expanded its efforts to further enhance customer’s knowledge and understanding of how fraudsters are manipulating a tightly secured environment, to illegally obtain e-wallets information and the funds that are contained in them,” she said.

She highlighted that one of the key principles is that the bank manages to listen carefully and deeply to what customers say on an ongoing basis.

“We take every opportunity that customer feedback provides us to continuously improve our offerings, as well increase and refine our communication, especially when it comes to keeping our customers and their money safe and secure,” said Kauluma.

She added that with the development of tools such as an OTP and PIN which are used for different purposes, customers can manage their own banking and personal security on their own devices.

“This is why both the OTP and PIN are created from a randomised series of numbers. It is automatically generated to ensure that they cannot be compromised or passed on to a third party,” she noted.

Kauluma reassured that controls and monitoring of all bank security mechanisms are upheld to the highest regulatory requirements and global standards.

FNB’s Chief Marketing Officer Tracey Eagles, stated that the bank has put in place systems that continue to protect its customers, however, customers who give away their information knowingly or unknowingly such as PINs is what opens the back door for fraudsters to scam them and steal their funds.

She said that the notion that FNB is at fault is not true while admitting that perhaps this is a wakeup call to intensify its customer information sharing and training on how to protect one’s self from falling victim to scammers who trick customers into sharing their PINS under the pretence of FNB bank officials.

“We understand that this matter is very sensitive because nobody likes losing their money, however, what we are saying as the bank, is we want our customers to be extra vigilant and not to share or display their information in public to anyone, and should they feel that they are in danger of being scammed, they should immediately report the matter at the bank, for precautionary measures to be taken,” explained Eagles.

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