A Portuguese couple say they lost about 8 000 euros (N$96 000) to credit card fraud after visiting Namibia last year, and they suspect the involvement of Namibian service staff.
The couple, Jose and Ana Alcada, say they only used their credit card once during their trip, then suddenly found themselves billed for a myriad of credit card transactions in Namibia and South Africa.
According to Jose Alcada, his wife had been waiting for her flight at Hosea Kutako Airport on the night of January 1 when she decided to use her Visa card to buy items at the airport restaurant.
She boarded her flight and returned home, he said, and was only reminded of the transaction more than a month later when Visa informed her of irregularities in the use of her card.
“She only noticed when Visa announced (to) her that (her) card was being simultaneously used in Portugal, Namibia and South Africa,” Alcada told The Namibian in e-mail correspondence.
Alcada said Visa suggested to his wife that her card may have been cloned when used on holiday, leaving them to suspect staff at Hosea Kutako.
The thieves apparently used Alcada’s card to buy goods and withdraw cash from ATMs. Visa has since refunded Alcada for her loss.
No criminal charges were laid.
Contacted yesterday, the Namibia Airports Company’s Airports Commercial Officer, Faye Kandjeo, said she had not been informed of any such incident, adding that more could have been done had the Alcadas reported it to the Police.
She offered to have the person running the restaurant contact The Namibian for comment, but by time of going to press, this had not happened.
“Unfortunately when word of incidents like this spreads, Namibia is left with a bad reputation,” said Mari Koch of travel agency New African Frontiers, to whom the Alcadas first reported their ordeal.
“It doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. A number of other tour operators have also been complaining of theft and fraud with tourists as victims,” she said.
Last week, First National Bank warned customers of new tactics used by con artists and thieves.