It was mid-July, on a chilly morning and *Judy Mwenda*, a business woman, was leaving Marigiti market where she had gone to collect her groceries when she received a rather disturbing text message from her bank.
“Dear customer, your bank account is being shared by another person. Kindly call this number 07****** so that we can correct the anomaly”
Shortly after reading the message, a cold chill went down her spine, she couldn’t believe she was sharing her bank account with a stranger given that she had saved a substantial amount of her hard-earned money for months.
Like any other business man or woman, such a message would instill fear, and for Mwenda she didn’t hesitate, she followed instructions given to her by the purported bank official and within minutes she had divulged all her banking details such as pin and her identity number. All this in an effort to quickly rectify the issue with her account as soon as possible.
Assured that she had sorted the problem, Mwenda didn’t bother to check her balance until late in the evening when she discovered her account had been swept clean.
Little did she know she had given the fraudster access to her bank account. The woman had just fallen into a fraudster’s trap and her money had mysterious vanished into thin air.
Mwenda’s incidence is not an isolated case, thousands of bank customers have lost money through such well- crafted scams by fraudsters purporting to be officials from the bank.
In the recent past, advancement in technology has seen a majority of bank customers use their mobile devices for communication and banking services. But as they troop to mobile devices for efficient transactions, fraudsters too are upping their game.
In the changing global landscape, where volumes of digital payments are increasing and payments are being processed in seconds, fraudsters are creatively finding new ways to steal from banks and their customers.
According to reports from KPMG global banking survey of 2019, banks globally are seeing an increasing trend in scams. Fraudsters are manipulating and coercing customers into making payments to them by bypassing bank controls.
The survey observes that retail banks experienced increases in total fraud value and volume.
Fraud cases that increased included identity theft, account take over, card not present and authorized push payment scams.
The rising cases of bank fraudsters have given financial institutions sleepless nights trying to come up with measures to protect their customers from such scams.
For instance, Equity bank rolled out a universal number that will be used to communicate to its over 14 million customers.
The launch of the One Number means that Equity will only call its customers through the number 0763000000.
This will ensure the bank’s customers engage conveniently with the lender and in a secure environment since the number is easily identifiable at a glance and they can trust that it indeed is Equity calling.
The fact that the number is easily identifiable means that the move will significantly deter fraud through call impersonations. Fraudsters will have a hard time trying to convince Equity customers that they are genuine staff if they don’t call using the number 0763000000.
All Equity staff, whether it is your branch manager, relationship manager, account opening officer, credit or loan officer, insurance, agriculture officer, procurement manager, investment advisor, shares buying or selling they will all call you using the ONE Number.
The ONE Equity number is for all outgoing calls. Customers can talk to the bank 24/7 by calling back the number 0763000000 or 0763063000 or dialing 100 if using Equitel.
If anyone calls you purporting to be an Equity staff and the caller ID is not 0763000000, do not engage them. Instead, report the number by sending it to 333 says the bank.