Over P1.6 billion stolen online

SHARE   |   Friday, 06 July 2018   |   By Kabelo Adamson
Motlhanka Motlhanka

as tech savvy scammers target bank customers

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With the advent of technology, many bank users have found themselves falling victims to unscrupulous online scammers and losing their funds. This was also confirmed by the chief executive officer of Bankers Association of Botswana (BAB), Oabile Mabuse at a workshop held in Gaborone on Wednesday whose main agenda was to exchange ideas on how to curb the surging scourge. “Fraud risk has become a major issue and one of the recommendations that we came up with is that all stakeholders need to work together to eliminate the loopholes,” said Mabuse, adding that they have decided to create a task team drawn from all the stakeholders to deliberate on combating financial crimes.

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He explained that with the task force, they will effectively address and manage the risks of fraud. It is reported that most of fraud cases reported by banks are technology-related frauds which are mostly committed through the use of internet banking channels, ATMs and other forms of channels like credit cards. With the increase in technology which its introduction was mainly for convenience purposes, this has also become a headache for banks as well as bank users. Fraudsters on the other hand are becoming tech savvy and are now exploiting the loopholes to rob unsuspecting bank users online.

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Chairperson of BAB Fraud Forum Fred Motlhanka says they always provide customers with tips to avoid falling victim to online scammers. Some of the tips include urging customers not to accept any unsolicited help at the ATMs and changing Personal Identification Number (PIN) more often. He said the banking industry is moving with times and always enhance security features of the bank cards. Though many crimes are committed through the use of technology, Motlhanka observed that traditional ones like cheque scams still exist. Some of the financial fraud includes skimming, identity theft, phishing, and SIM swap fraud amongst others.

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According to the police, online scamming has become popular in Botswana over the last few years with individuals’ funds disappearing from bank accounts. Mogotsi Rankhudu from Botswana Police says methods such as fake facebook accounts have also become a popular method of scamming people. Rankhudu says they have investigated cases where people have been swindled over P1.6 billion through online scammers.   

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However, the police say they go through many challenges when investigating such cases, especially when a crime has been committed in another jurisdiction. This is because, a bank customer maybe in Botswana, but will receive a message from the notifying them that a certain amount has been withdrawn from the account at some ATM in Dubai for example.

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This then becomes a process for the police to conduct investigation as they have to go through diplomatic processes, becoming a further challenge when such jurisdiction does not have ties with Botswana. Another challenge is that for other countries only assist in investigations when a certain amount is involved. 



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