Freight Company Almost Loses Half a Million

HARDAP Freight Services almost lost its monthly payment from The Namibian, after scammers had sent an email purporting that the company had changed its banking details.

HFS is a courier company, which transports the majority of The Namibian’s newspapers to different parts of the country since 2011.

This comes after a person by the name of ‘Charles Webb’ under the pretense that he was a debtor accounts officer at HFS, in an email to The Namibian’s circulations and operations department on Monday claimed that HFS’s account number has been changed.

However, the manager of the department, Hofney Kanandjembo, picked up that something was wrong in the email as the address, fax and telephone number were all wrong and what further worsened the matter was that a Google email address was used instead of the HFS address.

“I immediately spotted all these discrepancies, especially since the letter with the HFS letterhead was signed off by a certain ‘Webb’, and not by the HFS manager,” said Kanandjembo.

HFS had also changed their bank accounts from Standard Bank to Bank Windhoek last month, which was more suspicious.

“Why would they change them again,” said Kanandjembo, adding that as a result he called HFS’s owner to verify.

“I called the owner who denied that he had authorised any changes and we also received information from Standard Bank that the account number did not belong to them,” said Kanandjembo.

The Namibian was due to pay approximately N$500 000 to HFS for their services and the due date for that payment was yesterday, said a finance employee.

“We were under pressure to pay this money into this new bank account, but thank goodness, a lady at Standard Bank confirmed that the account number was not a Standard Bank one and that it allegedly belonged to ABSA South Africa,” said the employee.

The account number 1006 390 0775 with branch code 051 001 was found to be from ABSA bank in South Africa.

In an interview, HFS owner Gert Liebenberg yesterday said he opened a case of fraud.

Liebenberg said the culprits had used HFS’s old information in the email which claimed that the company’s physical address was in Prosperita while it is in the Northern Industrial Area.

He also said the email had the old name of the company ‘Hardap Fast Freight’ on the letterhead.

” The peculiar thing is I had just arranged for a change of accounts last month. So my radar went up. We opened a case with the police, ” he said.

NamPort lost N$2,1 million in February this year, after the company deposited the money into an account that turned out to be a fake bank South African ABSA account.

Chairman of the Bankers Association of Namibia, Ian Leyenaar yesterday warned the public to remain vigilant and be aware of the new “Change of banking detailsletterhead” scam.

“This letter is circulated to companies, supposedly from a supplier or debtor who indicates that the company changed its banking details.

The new bank account numbers are conveniently provided only to find that the bank details are a scam,” said Leyenaar.

Source : The Namibian