While many stokvel members are looking forward to splitting their pay-outs ahead of the holiday season, fraudsters are also eagerly waiting and looking for ways to scam members of their contributions.
Stokvel-related robberies and thefts are prevalent at this time of year, and hence savings clubs need to adopt reasonable safety measures when withdrawing and sharing their money, to avoid becoming victims of crime.
According to FNB Stokvels and Group Savings Head, Sifiso Nkosi, many are gearing up for peak stokvel withdrawal season where members can reap the rewards of their hard-earned contributions invested throughout the year for various needs. “We therefore encourage them to be cautious when withdrawing during the busy withdrawal season,” he said.
Nkosi shares seven safety tips stokvel groups should consider when withdrawing their savings:
- Arrange for the club’s pay-out to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal bank account or accounts of their choice instead of collecting cash contributions.
- Avoid making cash withdrawals of club members’ contributions on high-risk days such as month ends.
- The person assigned to withdraw the contributions must be accompanied by another club member to avoid handling the funds alone or falling victim to robbery.
- Avoid withdrawing large amounts of money at an ATM, especially after hours or at congested places.
- Do not withdraw all the funds at the same time. Consider staggering the withdrawals into different days to ensure that your contributions are safe.
- Do not announce the stokvel withdrawal plans on social media or share pictures of the cash as you might open yourselves to being targeted and defrauded.
- Do not allow anyone to distract you and avoid social conversations with strangers while you carry large amounts of cash.
“We urge members to exercise extreme caution with their money and always remember that there are safer ways to do transactions, such as internet transfers or mobile banking, instead of carrying large amounts of cash.
“Lastly, we encourage members to save a portion of their pay-out to help them survive the long coming and dreaded January in the new year,” Nkosi concluded.
Compiled by Justine Fortuin