Saturday, September 26, 2020

Identity theft rocks Botswana insurance industry

Hundreds of Batswana are feared to have had their money fraudulently siphoned from their bank accounts in an insurance identity theft scam.

Sunday Standard investigations have already turned up names of 14 Princess Marina medical doctors whose money was fraudulently deducted from their salaries in the insurance identity theft.

The Sunday Standard investigations revealed that scores of government officials from the human resources departments at various ministries are conniving with sales representatives from insurances companies to steal personal information of civil servants and use it in fraudulent insurance transactions.

Investigations reveal that personal information is stolen from civil servants’ files and passed on to insurance sales representatives who then fill out fraudulent insurance applications on behalf of the civil servants.

The investigations further revealed that hundreds of unsuspecting victims have been defrauded in this criminal manner and that some insurance brokers have been getting away with the crime.
The matter has been reported to the police while a suspect is assisting police with investigations.

Detective Superintendent Balibadzi Boy, of Naledi Police Station in Gaborone, said that they are investigating a case in which 14 medical doctors based in Gaborone have been defrauded of money from their bank accounts through fraudulent insurance policies.

He said already they are questioning a middle-aged woman who works as a consultant insurance employee and who is assisting the police with the investigations.
Boy said that the number of suspects might increase as the investigation intensifies.
“It is too early to discuss much about the matter; police investigations are on-going,” he said.

Interviewed by Sunday Standard, the Risk and Compliance Manager of the Botswana Life Insurance, Mr. Tefo Setlhare, said they had already refunded the alleged medical doctors who were given fraudulent policies. Setlhare, however, did not want to disclose the amount.

He said his company had already closed down some of their agents who also defrauded clients.
Setlhare said such criminal activities are very worrisome.

He said, as a way of curbing such ill acts, Botswana Life is soon to create a fraud hotline which the public would use to report any fraud activity that the public suspects.

He added that they were busy creating a data base in which they will black list those agents that have been closed down due to criminal activities and added that it is very unfortunate that his Botswana Life Insurance has no control over brokers.

Setlhare appealed to the members of the public to always consult with their nearest offices if they are suspicious of a particular agent or broker and promised that they would be assisted.
The managing director of First Sun Alliance, Paul Chitate, confirmed to the Sunday Standard that one of their employees had allegedly opened fraudulent policies for about 14 medical doctors.

He said those policies have been cancelled and the insurance consultants fired.

Chitate expressed surprise on how a consultant managed to get such confidential documents, adding that he did not want to say much about it because the matter is being handled by the police.

He appealed to Human Resources Managers to insure that confidential information of employees is always safe in order to avoid such cases.

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