The financial sector has undergone significant transformations due to rapid technological advancements. Banking, in particular, has been revolutionized by technology.
Gone are the days when people had to dress up and visit physical bank branches to conduct transactions. Nowadays, you can make deposits and withdrawals, pay for goods and bills, and even apply for loans from your device.
Kenya’s financial sector’s rapid adoption of technology has also been accompanied by a rapidly evolving threat targeting customers and financial services providers. The biggest threat is digital fraud.
Some tools fraudsters use today to gain illegal access to customers’ bank accounts are illegal sim swaps, malware, and unsecure public Wi-Fi networks.
Take SIM-swap fraud, for instance; It occurs when a criminal can convince a mobile operator to issue them with a replacement SIM card by claiming a false identity and pretending that their mobile phone is either lost or stolen.
They then take control of a victim’s phone number by deactivating their SIM and switching the allocated number to a different SIM card.
The criminals can then reset passwords on mobile banking applications, giving them access to their victims’ contacts, banking details, emails and even social media accounts.
Fraudulent access to critical personal information such as phone numbers, ID numbers, Mobile/ Internet Banking PINs or passwords can allow fraudsters to take over a customer’s bank account and perform unauthorized transfers.
To protect themselves from fraudsters, customers must guard their personal information by not sharing critical details like OTPs, passwords, and ATM and Mobile Banking PINs with others, including bank staff, close friends, or relatives.
This also relates to lost or misplaced mobile devices. If you lose your phone or sim card, your first instinct should be to report the same to your mobile services provider and bank so that they can block all money services.
accountability and efficiency
The good thing is that banks continuously innovate in line with market needs. Some, led by Equity, have gone further to curb fraud by providing a single number through which the bank communicates with its customers.
All calls from Equity now come through a unique mobile number; 0763 000 000.
Even when they call through that number, the bank staff will not ask for personal information such as Mobile Banking PIN, ATM PIN or passwords.
Customers can also use a toll-free SMS line, 333, which they can use to report numbers that call them trying to defraud them.
Additional personal safety measures to secure your digital banking platforms:
- Do not give your phone or laptop to strangers, including those who purport to be from mobile service providers or banks.
- Do not share personal data with anyone, such as your account number or card/CVV number.
- Do not share your bank statement/account balance/or other bank details online.
- Do not use public Wi-Fi to do your online or mobile banking.
- Do not click on any suspicious links shared via email or SMS.
- Do not give anyone access to your Banking App or Telco SIM Card
While mobile and internet banking deliver convenience and flexibility for customers, such benefits will only be of value when customers work with banks to keep their accounts safe from fraudsters looking for easy prey.