The financial sector has undergone a significant transformation over the years, owing to the 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, withdrawals, pay for goods, bills and even apply for loans right from your device.
However, the rapid adoption of technology by Kenya’s financial sector has also been accompanied by a rapidly evolving threat targeting both customers and financial services providers. The biggest threat being digital fraud.
Some of the tools used by fraudsters 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; they occur when a criminal is able to 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 was stolen.
They then take control of a victim’s phone number by essentially deactivating their SIM and switching the allocated number to a different SIM card belonging to them.
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 the fraudsters to takeover a customer’s bank account and performs unauthorized transfers.
To protect themselves from fraudsters, customers need to guard their personal information jealously by not sharing critical details like OTPs, passwords, ATM and Mobile Banking PINs with other people 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.
The good thing is that banks are continuously innovating in line with the market needs and some led by Equity have gone a step 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.
Additionally, customers also have the option of using a toll-free SMS line, 333, which they can use to report numbers that call them trying to defraud them.
Here are additional personal safety measures you can take to secure your digital banking platforms:
- Do NOT give your phone, laptops to strangers including those who purport to be from mobile service providers or banks.
- Do NOT share personal data such as your account number, card/ CVV number with anyone.
- 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.