Bankers fight fraud

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MASERU –— The Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL) on Thursday launched an aggressive awareness campaign to curb fraud.

Mpho Vumbukani, who chairs the association, told the Lesotho Times the decision to launch the campaign follows a sharp rise in the number of people being robbed at banks.

He said the campaign was meant to educate clients on the importance of safeguarding their banking details.

“We are engaging in fraud awareness campaigns to educate our clients and the general public on how they can safeguard their hard-earned money, in particular against unscrupulous criminals who perpetuate fraud through ATMs (Automated Teller Machines), electronic banking channels, and at banks’ branch network,” Vumbukani said.

He said that the campaign was part of a bigger goal to achieve financial literacy among Basotho as well as promote the protection of consumer rights.

“We see this as part of our responsibility to society as delegated guardians of the pool of national savings,” Vumbukani said.

He added: “Supporting the goal of a financially literate society is also a way to safeguard the sanctity and soundness of the financial sector — to build and engender a relationship of trust with consumers, as trust is at the very core of the financial sector.”

Without trust, consumers end up resorting to keeping their collective savings in informal savings channels or at home, where the risk of loss and fraud is high.

Vumbukani said the BAL will embark on road shows in the districts to address communities on banking and financial sector issues.

The association will also use newspapers, host talk shows on radios as well as distribute printed communication at banks’ ATMs and branches.

“In the regrettable situation where fraud has already taken place, banks’ customers are assisted to report incidents either through to a branch or a dedicated telephone number,” Vumbukani said.

He added that the BAL will continue to work with the police, other arms of the law, and private security companies to bring perpetrators to book.

“We also engage with members of the public to show them the importance of providing information where they are aware of fraudulent activities, in ways that still protect their anonymity and the confidentiality of information.

“The preventative measures that we have adopted as banks to guard against fraud include: physical security officers, CCTV cameras at points of representation, personal identification numbers, SMS alerts, and fraud awareness campaigns and notices throughout our banking network,” Vumbukani said.

The BAL is made up of the major banks in the country: Standard Lesotho Bank, First National Bank Lesotho, Nedbank and Lesotho Post Bank.

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