Be vigilant of fraud scams, says Absa


Absa Bank has warned the public to be vigilant about the ever-changing face of money laundering which it described as a rampant factor during the festive season.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion, regional managing executive for Gauteng South, Banie Claasen said clients should worry if unknown sums of money get deposited into their accounts.

Whenever this happens, Claasen said account holders should inform the bank immediately so they can try and trace where the money comes from. He said there have been many instances where clients wake up one morning and find themselves awash with large sums of money in their accounts, and have no clue where it came from.

“This is the ever-changing face money laundering and if the clients are not careful, they will be either kidnapped by those wanting their money back or they will be held at gunpoint in their houses by the criminals wanting their money.

“If your account is suddenly awash with money and you do not know its origins, report it immediately to the bank so they can trace it and take legal steps if need be against those responsible, or bank clients will find themselves on the wrong side of Fica [Financial Intelligence Centre Act] which seeks to stop money laundering,” he said.

Claasen, who was assisted by some of his executives, Kudzi Samushonga and Paul Couniham, also warned charity organisations about a rampant scam where they are offered large sums of money as donations but the unscrupulous donors turn around and demand the money back and offer to give them a certain percentage of the total ‘donation’.

“This is nothing but a way of washing the dirty money as part of legitimising it. This money could be used to finance various terrorist activities or ongoing wars in various countries and other illegal activities such as drug trafficking,” Claasen said.

Samushonga explained why the term money laundering is often used. “It is taken on the pretext that the money is obtained through dubious means and, therefore, dirty and needs to be washed, hung out to dry and then ironed and allowed back into circulations as clean and legitimately acquired.”

Fraudsters are not on holiday and the public needs to be extra vigilant during this time of year. Other scams include the many undocumented foreigners in South Africa today who dupe citizens into opening accounts for them, which are then used as a conduit for money laundering. This is nothing but the tip of the iceberg of the scams that are doing rounds, Samushonga warned.

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