Approximately 0.06% of 1.3 million eWallets holders, and 788 transactions in the period of August 2022 to August 2023, have been impacted as a result of fraudulent activity.

That is 65 scams per month, or 2 scams per day.

This was said by First National Bank (FNB Namibia)’s Executive for Retail Banking Ms Nangula Kauluma.

Kauluma who spoke at a media conference yesterday in Windhoek said that as the outcry of concerns about eWallet fraud continues, FNB Namibia has expanded its efforts to further enhance customer knowledge and understanding of how fraudsters are manipulating a tightly secured environment, to illegally obtain access to their eWallets and the funds that are contained in them.

“The bank [FNB] remains seriously concerned about the way opportunistic criminals are exploiting customers in order to obtain critical information that enables them to subsequently employ their criminal scheme,” Kauluma said.

She further stated that the bank is working with law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to task and that some individuals in this regard have already been apprehended.

“It is important to note that the majority of our customers have not been impacted by these opportunistic fraudsters. Approximately 0.06% of 1.3m eWallets holders, and 788 transactions in the period of August 2022 to August 2023 have been impacted as a result of fraudulent activity.

“One of the key principles that the business is managed on, is 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 as increase and refine our communication, especially when it comes to keeping our customers and their money safe and secure,” Kauluma said.

At the media conference, the bank took the opportunity to talk about the security measures present from the bank’s side, and what the responsibilities of customers are, in terms of safeguarding their passwords, OTPs and PINs, related to their banking accounts.

The bank stated that it is important to note that both OTPs (One Time Pin) and PINs (Personal Identification Number) are created from a randomized series of numbers that are automatically generated and not created in any manual way, ensuring that they cannot be compromised in their creation, nor passed on by any third party.

Yeoman Hamilton, Head of Transactional and Digital Banking at FNB, unpacked the differences between OTPs and PINs, as well as how the current eWallet fraud takes place:

“We must emphasise that when a customer is informed by the bank that their OTP was compromised, this is the 4 digit number that was shared previously sometime in the past, and not at the point that the eWallet is taken by the fraudster, using the 5 digit PIN generated at that point in time,” Yeoman Hamilton, Head of Transactional and Digital banking explained.

“Customers are urged to remain vigilant and fiercely protective of any personal information, including the 4 digit OTP (One Time Pin) to verify authenticity of a transaction as well as their subsequent 5 digit eWallet withdrawal PINs (Personal Identification Number) at all times, as in a moment of being tricked by a fraudster you may end up sharing your OTP or ‘facilitating’ access without realising it,” he continued.  He reminded everyone again that the bank will never ask you for and OTP or your PIN.

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

“With all of these measures that the bank maintains, it is important to remind our customers that they too, play a role in maintaining their security further as the last line of defence. We continue to be relentless in collaborating with the various strategic partners and law enforcement authorities to bring these criminal fraudsters to task,” Kauluma said.

FNB, which is the bank for, mostly, the working class, has recently come under serious fire over the high incidence of fraudulent transactions through its system.

In August 2023 when Bank of Namibia Governor Mr Johannes !Gawaxab held engagements with stakeholders in Oshakati he said that the Bank of Namibia would take up the matter since the issue of scams through the FNB systems has been raised by several people at different occasions.

In the photo: Ms Nangula Kauluma of FNB.