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Warning about hoax letter with Municipal banking details
ETHEKWINI Municipality has urged residents to be aware of a two-page fraudulent letter claiming that the City has changed its banking details, which also instructs customers to make all payments into a new account.

The first page of the letter bears the incorrect Municipal logo with an address listed in Morningside for the accounts department. It is dated 26 April and advises residents that as from 1 April 2017 banking details for all payments are to be paid into this Absa account. It provides the bank name, account name, branch code and account number.

The letters states that funds are not to be paid into the Municipality’s previous account as it is now reserved for forex and international clients as it is now a USD Account. It further claims that any outstanding invoices with the City’s previous bank details are to be paid into the new account and failure to do will result in the payments being declined and unallocated.

It is signed by an “official” from the Accounts and Admin Office. The second page of the hoax letter is signed by Absa bank and claims that eThekwini Municipality is a client of the bank and maintains an account with them. It also lists the fake account name and number and claims that eThekwini Municipality is in good standing with the bank. It is signed by a “marketing official” from Retail and Business Banking. The public is urged to note that eThekwini Municipality moved all its accounts from Standard Bank to Nedbank as of 1 October 2015. All Municipal bills issued to customers have the correct banking details at the bottom of the page.

Peet Du Plessis from the City’s Revenue Department said the fake letter was identified by a commercial customer last week. “They asked us via e-mail about the authenticity of the letter. We advised them that the letter was not authentic. The details were then passed on to the Head of City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU), Mbuso Ngcobo.” Du Plessis said he is aware of only one affected customer, adding that the bank account identified in the letter has been blocked by Absa. “We have not changed banks and customers should be advised to ignore any communicated change from Nedbank at this stage. We may change bankers only after a tender process is completed every five years. Any change in banking details will be well advertised to inform the public, it will not be a single email sent to a person,” du Plessis said.

He added that the City has been able to react quickly and are thankful that the customer was alert when approached by the “fake official”. Customers who may have received this letter are urged to take it to their closest Sizakala Customer Care centre or to report it to the Municipality’s CIIU Unit by calling 0800 20 20 20.

charmel.payet@durban.gov.za 
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