By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
BANKERS Association of Zambia (BAZ) has cautioned customers against attackers as the industry has recently witnessed a resurrection and increase in smash and grab attacks on customers. Customers should therefore consider Cash in Transit services offered by security companies or police escort for large drawings while refraining from withdrawing large amounts of money over the counter.
BAZ Fraud Prevention Committee Member, Paul Luo, noted that attackers have been frequenting banking halls on the pretext of intending to open an account or conducting a transaction and yet they are spotting which customer to trail. “For the most part such individuals join queues but never really get to the counters or make any meaningful transactions. “What their aim is at that time is to see customers drawing substantial amounts of money and ßalert their colleagues outside the branch. For this reason, these are called spotters,” he explained in his write-up on Beware of Trailing, Smash and Grab Attacks.
Mr Luo stressed that when an unsuspecting customer make a large drawing, spotters then described his appearance and apparel usually by SMS or short call to the colleagues sitting in close proximity to bank exits. He stated that the customer would then trailed and at the earliest opportunity attackers break in and get away with the funds. He warned spotters were found in all age groups and in both gender saying “they could be female, carrying babies, young or advanced in age, foreigners, or locals.” Trailing, Mr Luo said, start within close proximity of the business premises. He therefore advised customers to refrain entirely from drawing large amounts of money over the counter. “Should there be compelling reasons for such drawing arrangements must be made with bankers for drawings to be done from bulk counter facilities or back-office provisions where the quantum of drawings cannot be seen by spotters. “Alternatively, and particularly for extremely large drawings, Cash in Transit services offered by Security Companies or Police escort must be considered,” Mr Luo said.
He said customers should drive to the nearest police station and use the front entrance of the station. He emphasised that I will emphasised the front entrance of the police station was the best as attackers could still attack while in public carparks at police stations. “On the bankers end, loitering in banking halls must be curtailed. Persons overstaying their welcome in these facilities must be approached and asked to state their business or required to leave. “They may also hold accounts with the banks they patronize. The key to whether someone must remain on the premises should be driven by whether they have unfinished business or not,” he said.