SBN: Be wary of a new scam

21 Jan 2014 18:00


Standard Bank Namibia (SBN) once again alerts the public of a new scam used by fraudsters to swindle customers off their money by presenting them with surprise gifts.


Chief executive officer, Mpumzi Pupuma, says there is a new witty credit card scam approach.


“Be wary of accepting any surprise gifts or packages, which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift or package. Also, never accept anything if you do not personally know or there is no proper identification of who the sender is," Pupuma says, adding, the only time one should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when they themselves have initiated the purchase or transition.


This scam occurs when a person receives a phone call from another saying they are from “Express Couriers” (the name could be anything). The so-called 'caller' says they would be delivering a package at the client’s home that requires their signature.


This is how one victim recalls being scammed:   


“The caller said the delivery would arrive at my home in roughly an hour and sure enough, about an hour later, a uniformed man turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. I was very surprised since it did not involve any special occasion or holiday and I certainly didn’t expect anything like it,” says the victim. "Intrigued about who had sent me such a gift, I inquired about the sender. The deliveryman replied his was only to deliver the package and that a card would separately follow, which never arrived!"

With the gift came a consignment note. Because the gift contained alcohol, there was a N$30.50 "delivery/verification charge", providing proof the deliveryman had actually delivered the package to an adult of legal drinking age; not left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone, especially a minor.


"This sounded logical, so I decided to pay him," says the victim. The credit card scam followed when the delivery company required payment by credit or debit card only, so that everything could be properly accounted for. That, they said, would help in keeping a legal record of the transaction, "couriers do not carry a bunch of cash; it makes them targets for robberies", the victim was told.


After unknowingly swiping his credit/debit card on a small mobile card machine the delivery man was holding, which had a small screen and keypad on which the client entered his card’s PIN and security number, a receipt was printed out and he was given a copy as“proof of the transaction”.


However, over the next couple of days after this transaction, the "client" was swindled off his money through his account details. “To my horrible surprise, N$40 000 had been charged/withdrawn from our credit/debit account at various ATM machines. Somehow, the "mobile credit card machine", which the deliveryman had carried contained all the information necessary to create a 'dummy card' with all our card details after my husband swiped our card and entered the requested PIN and security numbers," narrates the victim's wife.


"After finding out about the illegal transactions on our card, we immediately notified the bank, which issued us a new card before closing our credit/debit account. I also personally went to the police, where it was confirmed we had definitely been scammed, because several households had been similarly hit," the man concludes.