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Fraud attempts at AXA

Two attempts have been made to fraudulently access the accounts of AXA customers who reside overseas in the last two months.  

Tuesday, July 13th 2010, 2:11PM

by Jenha White

AXA chief executive Ralph Stewart says he hasn't seen fraud attempts for a long time and so two in a row recently is a bit unusual.

He says the attempts have been made from Nigeria and it is likely based on the fraudsters intercepting customer mail.

The usual approach taken by the fraudsters has been to contact the client's adviser by telephone and identify themselves using the information contained in a routine account statement letter such as full name, address, customer reference and product details.

The fraudster then asks to make a withdrawal and requests that any forms that need to be filled out be sent to them by email to a new email address - usually a email address.

In the withdrawal instructions, the fraudster specifies a new bank account for the withdrawal proceeds to be paid to which is different to the bank account held on file.  Chinese bank accounts are usually nominated.

In some cases, the fraudster is able to forge a signature which is a reasonable match to the customer signatures held on file.

AXA is taking steps to identify customers resident in high risk countries to discuss more secure alternative communication channels for routine account statements with them.

Stewart says understanding what is taking place, what to look out for and what steps you can take to protect client information is critical for all advisers. 

"It's a reminder to the market place to be aware of these occurrences."

AXA has therefore provided guidance for advisers to share within their business and with clients.

To prevent fraud it says advisers' usual customer verification checks should help, but red flags are:

  • Check the transmission codes for any withdrawal faxes received from customers overseas to confirm that the fax has originated from the country the customer lives in.
  • Be wary of any communications originating from Nigeria (the Nigeria country fax code is 234).
  • A customer who persistently calls to chase up a withdrawal payment but will not leave a contact phone number to be called back on.
  • Customers who request monies to be transferred to a third party bank account or a bank account in their name at an overseas bank.



Jenha is a TPL staff reporter.

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