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Scammers pose as bank staffers

Acleda Bank has alerted its customers about a scam in which callers pose as staff members and promise prizes
Acleda Bank has alerted its customers about a scam in which callers pose as staff members and promise prizes. MENG KIMLONG

Scammers pose as bank staffers

Acleda Bank is trying to protect its customers from getting bamboozled by a phone scam in which callers allegedly posing as bank employees ask for money transfers in exchange for a prize, according to a statement and ads placed in a local newspaper.

“We would like to announce to all valued customers and the public that, recently, some cheats prove themself [sic] to be staff of Acleda Bank or use Acleda Bank’s name to contact you via phone or other ways,” read an alert dated July 1 and posted on the bank’s official website. “Acleda Bank does not have any program to provide lucky draw or prize to customers and the public,” it added.

In Channy, CEO and president of the bank, could not be reached for comment yesterday, and So Phonnary, executive vice president, did not immediately respond to questions about how much money was stolen during the alleged scam, or whether there was an investigation under way to catch those said to be posing as staff.

An Acleda employee reached yesterday, who declined to give his name as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said that Acleda had received dozens of reports from customers over the past two months regarding the ruse, and the bank had not provided compensation.

“They just tell us [about losing their money] and then they go and cry,” he said.

Such scams are not unique, with hoax emails requesting help or promising larger returns and gifts emanating from all over the world.

Anthony Perkins, the CEO of Cambodian mobile payment service provider Wing, said that prior to security enhancements made earlier this year, Wing had experienced “quite a few cases” of similar attacks.

“Customers are sending $100 maybe $200 through Wing and then what they are promised in return varies from cash transferred through a bank” or a prize, he said.

Perkins said agent training and system upgrades had curbed the threat of criminal activity,

“Whenever they are assisting a customer to send money [agents were taught] to ask ‘what is the purpose?’, ‘do you know the recipient?’ and we have managed to foil quite a few cases,” he said.

Perkins added that Wing had also updated its system so that the person sending funds must also specify the phone number of the customer that is going to come and collect it, and the customer who is coming to collect must show that they are holding the right phone.”

During the peak of its confrontations with fraud, Wing worked with the authorities, and scammers were caught and charged.

“We did have some experience previously working with the police to actually identify individuals and in some cases we have got CCTV footage that did lead to prosecution in about seven or eight cases, with issues dating back to January or February,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LAURA MA

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