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‘We never shared our pins’

Clients of First National Bank (FNB) Namibia who have fallen victim to eWallet theft have hit back at the bank for saying they were tricked into revealing their pins.

This counter-reaction comes after more clients have come forward saying they have mysteriously lost money through eWallet transactions.

The FNB eWallet facility allows customers to send money to anyone with a Namibian cellphone number.

Funds are transferred instantly and can be used to withdraw cash from FNB ATMs or to buy prepaid airtime.

Commercial banks, including FNB, have been issuing regular notices to customers, warning them about possible scams.

The bank earlier this week told The Namibian that those who lost money through eWallet transactions were tricked into giving their one-time pins (OTPs) to imposters, and that the bank’s security system was not flawed or hacked.

Ezra Kaleb this week lashed out at the bank for suggesting victims are gullible enough to share their pins with scammers.

“I am adamant that I did not share my pin with anyone. The bank does not want to take accountability and refund customers,” she said.

Kaleb said she lost N$5 000 through an eWallet transaction in January.

She demanded that the bank “admit that their system has been cloned” instead of blaming customers.

She said after seven months of reporting the matter to the police, footage was released showing the money was withdrawn by a security guard.

The Namibian contacted the investigating police officer in charge of the eWallet scam case Kaleb opened.

The officer was willing to provide information, but said he needs authorisation from his commissioner first.

Kaleb said she Meeded to buy nappies for her newborn baby, and other necessities with the money she was sent.

“I visited the bank, and all they could tell me was that it was my fault, because I may have shared my pin with someone. That got me really angry. I am very disappointed, because until today I have not received my money back,” she said.

Another victim who recently lost N$500 through an eWallet transaction said she had reported the incident to the bank, but was told there was nothing they could do.

“I have lost N$500 in the same way these people lost theirs. FNB just told me there was nothing they could do. I must just create a pin to protect my eWallet,” she said on social media.

Some clients have taken to social media, accusing FNB of being “weak”.

“I also lost my money through eWallet and FNB must do something please,” the client said.

Another affected client said: “FNB, I lost my N$2 000 while my phone was off, and I was deep in the village. I never requested a pin even, and I never shared a pin with anyone.”

FNB retail executive Nangula Kauluma did not respond to calls, texts or an email yesterday.

However, earlier this week she said the temptation for fraudsters to get access to eWallets is big, considering many people use this service.

She said fighting fraudsters and protecting their customers’ money is a big part of how the bank helps customers daily.

Kauluma said apart from the necessary banking system firewalls, “the eWallet product is stringently protected by a customer sign-up process”.