By Phiwa Sikhondze

The Eswatini Bankers Association (EBA) has revealed that customers and the public have lost over E4.4 million due to fraudulent scams.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of EBA, Mvuselelo Fakudze during the launch of the International Fraud Awareness Week (IFAW) and Festive Season Awareness campaign held at the Royal Villas Hotel yesterday.

The IFAW is a global initiative by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) where organizations around the world pledge to spread fraud awareness and anti-fraud training in their companies and communities. The EBA has been participating in the IFAW since 2015 and has strengthened its relationships and partnerships with its stakeholders in the fight against fraud.

The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Fraud Affects Us All, Spot it- Yibike’, which means “Report it.” The theme was drawn from the observation that fraud impacts not only the customer who is the direct victim, but also his/her dependents, the service provider, and the economy at large. The theme also encourages everyone to report any suspected fraud to the relevant authorities.

Fakudze divulged that customers lost a total of over E4.4 million in the year under review due to various types of fraud, such as change of banking details scams, fake advertisement on online platforms scams, online trading scams, e-commerce/card not present transactions scams, and card-based fraud-ATM/POS transactions scam.

  • Change of banking details scam- E2.2 million
  • Fake Advertisement  on online platforms- E912 973
  • Online Trading Scam E334, 028
  • E-commerce/Card not present – E762, 470
  • Card-based fraud ATM/POS – E153, 624

On a positive note, however, the EBA disclosed that more than E800 000 was recovered from the Change of Banking Details scam.

The EBA Chairman said that fraudsters are exploiting the increased use of online platforms and digital technologies to defraud customers of their hard-earned money, such as creating fake online websites, intercepting online transactions, impersonating bank personnel, and swapping cards at ATMs and POS machines.

The campaign aims to educate customers and the public on how to spot and report fraud, and how to prevent becoming a victim of fraud. The campaign will also involve collaborations and partnerships with various stakeholders, such as the Royal Eswatini Police Service, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Eswatini Financial Intelligence Unit, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Central Bank of Eswatini, and the Eswatini Mobile Telephone Network (MTN).

“As the week progresses and as we get into the festive season, the EBA-FLC will be engaging extensively with customers in the different segments of society to create awareness on the typologies and share tips and ways on how customers and members of the public could protect themselves from the cunning fraudster,” he said. Fakudze also emphasized the importance of collaboration and vigilance in the fight against fraud and crime, saying that fraud affects everyone in the value chain, from the customer to the bank and the economy at large. He urged customers and the public to report any suspicious or fraudulent activities to their respective banks or the police.

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