BAL launches fraud aware­ness cam­paign

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso 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.” SHO­PRITE has part­nered with Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank (SLB) to of­fer a do­mes­tic money trans­fer ser­vice through the su­per­mar­ket chain’s out­lets coun­try­wide.

The fa­cil­ity, which was launched in Maseru on Tues­day, al­lows cus­tomers to send and re­ceive money at Sho­prite and U-save stores within Le­sotho.

Ac­cord­ing to Sho­prite Re­gional Man­ager, Pitso Me­lao (pic­tured), the launch of the ser­vice fol­lows on the heels of the suc­cess­ful roll­out of its cross-bor­der re­mit­tances fa­cil­ity in March this year.

“Since the in­tro­duc­tion of cross bor­der money trans­fer ser­vices in March 2015, a to­tal amount of R24 mil­lion was trans­ferred by friends and rel­a­tives in South Africa to Ba­sotho,” he said.

“In that time, a to­tal of 12 675 peo­ple were able to use the ser­vice seam­lessly to send money home.”

Mr Me­lao said the do­mes­tic money trans­fer ser­vice had been pi­loted from 26 Oc­to­ber 2015, with 36 trans­ac­tions worth M29 463 hav­ing been made. He said proof of iden­tity and con­tact de­tails of both the sender and the re­ceiver would be re­quired, adding that for­eign­ers with valid iden­ti­fi­ca­tion were also able to use the ser­vice.

“First-time users would be re­quired to fill out a reg­is­tra­tion form which will then be en­tered into the sys­tem. Fol­low­ing the trans­fer, a re­cip­i­ent can, by means of a se­cret four digit pin num­ber and proof of iden­tity, with­draw the money from their near­est Sho­prite or U-save store at our money mar­ket, ex­cept for U-save Ma­put­soe and TY (Tey­ateya­neng) which still await ex­ten­sion,” said Mr Me­lao.

“Cus­tomers will soon have the op­tion to with­draw their money at the till points while pay­ing for their gro­ceries, thus of­fer­ing a safe method of with­draw­ing money and sav­ing time by not hav­ing to stand in the queue at the money mar­ket.”

Mr Me­lao said M9.99 would be charged for each trans­fer, “which is less than any other in­sti­tu­tion”.

“Trans­fers are lim­ited to M5 000 per cus­tomer per day and M25 000 per cus­tomer per month,” he said.

Sho­prite opened its first store in Le­sotho in 1997, with the su­per­mar­ket chain now boast­ing 21 out­lets con­sist­ing of five Sho­prite su­per­mar­kets, six Usave stores, six OK fur­ni­ture out­lets, one OK Power Ex­press, two Hun­gry Lion chicken fast food out­lets and one liquor store. On his part, SLB Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mpho Vum­bukani said the fa­cil­ity would bring about more con­ve­nience and ad­dress the chal­lenges faced by the un­banked and un­der­banked sec­tions of Le­sotho’s pop­u­la­tion.

“As a lead­ing bank, we strive to bring in­no­va­tions that ben­e­fit our peo­ple. We are par­tic­u­larly glad that we have part­nered with Sho­prite, which is a retail gi­ant in its own right, to bring con­ve­nience for all our cus­tomers,” he said.

Mr Vum­bukani noted that SLB’S role would be to pro­vide fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity to users of the ser­vice.

“We are man­dated, un­der the Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions Act of (2010), to pro­tect de­pos­i­tors’ funds, and the Cen­tral Bank of Le­sotho reg­u­lates us to en­sure that is achieved,” he said.

“What hap­pens dur­ing trans­fers is that when­ever a de­posit is made, we are re­quired to keep the money for Sho­prite in trust un­til it has been with­drawn by the per­son it was in­tended for. That is the kind of se­cu­rity we of­fer to the de­pos­i­tor be­cause there are risks in­volved in money trans­fers.”

The ser­vice has been pi­o­neered by both com­pa­nies in other coun­tries such as Zam­bia, Namibia, and Swazi­land.

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