The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has warned the general public to be weary of fraudsters purporting to be bank representatives and defrauding unsuspecting citizens.

In a statement, CCPC public relations officer Rainford Mutabi stated that the unscrupulous individuals were soliciting for personal banking details in order to hack into systems and steal money.

“The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) would like to warn the general public to be cautious of suspected false online banking agents masquerading as employees for various banking institutions in the country to steal from unsuspecting consumers in the wake of COVID-19. This comes after the Commission received complaints from the general public who allege to have been victimized by unscrupulous individuals claiming to be bank agents soliciting for personal banking details from unsuspecting consumers in order to hack into their system and steal money. CCPC Director Consumer Protection Brian Lingela has issued the warning observing that with the use of online and mobile banking services in view of the COVID 19 outbreak that has necessitated the use of online and mobile banking services, consumers of such services were now at risk of being attacked by fraudsters posing as online commercial bank agents to extort money,” read the statement.

“We have noticed that since most consumers now use online and mobile banking services as an alternative to physical banking following COVID 19, fraudsters are moving swiftly to try and extort money by phoning unsuspecting consumers asking them to change their personal details like the Personal Identification Number (PIN) in order to for instance migrate them to a bank’s new system when in fact not.”

He further urged consumers to be cautious when dealing with banking agents and make sure they don’t divulge their personal banking details.

“He has urged Consumers to take precautionary measures by verifying the authenticity of such suspected online and mobile banking agents with respective commercial banks and ensure that they do not disclose their personal banking information such as names, account, PIN numbers as well as National Registration Card (N.R.C) details to suspicious individuals to avoid being swindled. The Commission will work with the Zambia Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ZICTA) and Zambia Police to ensure that perpetrators of such fraudulent conduct are identified and punished. Such fraudulent conduct is prohibited under Section 308 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia and offenders are liable to imprisonment for 3 years,” stated Mutabi.