Sumac: Beware of fraudsters using our Bank’s name

By: Oliver Owuor

Sumac Microfinance Bank Ltd has issued an urgent alert to its customers and the public at large to beware of fraudsters using the bank’s name to defraud them.

This follows an incident over the weekend of May 23, 2020, in which a suspected conman began a racket to steal from Kenyans using an account opened at Sumac Microfinance Bank Ltd, before Sumac swung into action.

Sumac wishes to inform the public that it is not associated with any such individuals who may pose as businesspeople selling non-existent goods and services and especially home appliances.

In a statement issued on May 27, 2020, the bank warns that criminals with the intentions of conning unsuspecting members of the public are actively using scamming tricks to defraud people of their hard-earned cash.

“Such individuals are posing as either agents of a bank, or partners of a bank,” says Sumac CEO John Njihia. “In the process, they open an account with a bank, and then proceed to use various social media platforms to sell goods and services that are non-existent. The moment you pay them, the said goods or services are not delivered, and your money is gone. As soon as your money hits the account, they withdraw it immediately using online and mobile banking platforms.”

In the past week as already recounted, Sumac Microfinance Bank has had to deal with such a case in which a conman opened an account and went ahead to try and defraud Kenyans of their money. Sumac deployed available bank anti-fraud interventions, and the said individuals are now part of an ongoing investigation by police.

“There could be more fraudsters out there seeking to use any existing bank’s name to steal from the public,” Mr. Njihia says. “It might not be Sumac Microfinance alone that they could target. This is a public warning to all Kenyans to be careful and assess any possible online transaction before making any payments. These people are very smart and cunning; you therefore need to carefully make an assessment of the proposed transaction before getting involved.”

Scammers have tended to use various online platforms to sell goods and services that are non-existence for quite some time now. Law enforcement agencies have in the past mounted extensive interventions to bring to book perpetrators of such crimes, but new conmen emerge every single day with new tricks with which to pinch money from people.

“We have to be vigilant and cautious,” Mr. Njihia says. “Before buying, make calls that could help verify the authenticity of the business being fronted online. If a bank has been mentioned, make every effort to reach the bank and inquire about the validity of the purported business and the ongoing sale first. Once you have done due diligence, then you can proceed in line with outlined advisory.”

Mr. Njihia says that unless the bank publicly advertises an ongoing promotion on a particular area of interest, members of the public should take any ongoing promotions as mere attempts to rob them.

“It must come from the bank, and the same will be relayed in mainstream and social media extensively. As far as we are concerned, Sumac Microfinance is licensed and regulated by Central Bank of Kenya. We don’t trade in commodities unless such engagements and partnerships have been officially announced and presented to the public through the mainstream media, our social media platforms and our website. The more reason why you must call the bank to verify any purported ongoing promotion or sale or visit our website,” he says.

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