The office of the central bank issued the warning recently. It suggested that individuals and entities have persuaded people to make transactions with three banks that are not authorised or licensed by the central bank.
The banks in question were named as the Lao Agriculture Development Bank Limited, Lao Export-Import Bank, and Zhensa Lao Bank Limited.
“There are no such banks in Laos,” the central bank cautioned.
The public is advised to be aware of this issue and not to deposit money or make any financial transaction with an individual who gives the name of a fake bank.
People wanting to make transactions with authorised commercial banks in Laos should contact the Commercial Bank Management Department of the central bank on telephone number 021 223362 to seek information and avoid falling victim to such scams.
Members of the public can also check the list of commercial banks authorised or licensed by the central bank on its website: www.bol.gov.la. A senior official from the Commercial Bank Management Department of the central bank told Vientiane Times yesterday the bank has not yet received any appeal in relation to an individual falling prey to such deceit, even though it has learnt that such an incident took place.
Illegal fundraising and mobilisation of funds by unlawful financial institutions and companies has been an emerging issue in Laos in recent years, triggering the government’s relevant sectors to take further steps to address the problem.
Governor of the Bank of the Lao PDR, Dr Somphao Phaysith, told the National Assembly late last year that 24 institutions were found to have solicited money illegally.
Some 19 out of the 24 institutions had been licensed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the activities they were allowed to operate were outlined. But it was found that they were sourcing funds from members of the public illegally.
While the operators of some institutions are being investigated, several institutions are still functioning, Director General of the Financial Institute Management Department at the Bank of the Lao PDR, Dr Akhom Praseuth, told media last week.
He urged the public to inform the central bank if any fraudulent activity was suspected to have been carried out by the institutions so that the authorities in charge could take action.