Here is how to keep your bank account safe from fraudsters

Do you remember the last time that you were in a banking hall to initiate a bank transaction? For most of us, chances are that we have not been in one in a long while. This can be attributed to the advancement in banking technologies that have allowed us to use mobile
phones and other digital banking channels from the comfort of our homes, offices, school or wherever else we maybe.

The truth, however, is that as customers have changed their transacting habits because of these technologies, criminals have also evolved, and instead of waiting for customers outside banking halls to rob them off their hard-earned cash, they are today lurking around the internet and digital channels waiting to pounce on unsuspecting customers.

The most common fraud schemes affecting customers include account takeovers, where a fraudster successfully gains access to a customer’s bank account and performs unauthorized transfers. This could be through fraudulent access of personal information
such as phone numbers, ID numbers, Mobile/Internet Banking PINs or Passwords.

Access to this kind of information can allow fraudsters unauthorized access to customer accounts. We give you a scenario where an unsuspecting Equity Bank customer almost got defrauded by schemers who called him claiming to be Equity staff.

John is a local smokie vendor in the busy streets of Nairobi and has adopted mobile money payment for his biashara. Smokie customers can simply pay into his Equity account from any mobile network through the One Equity Till Number. One busy Friday evening while
John was busy at work, his phone buzzed and rang deep in his pockets. He quickly picked the call amidst serving his clients and had the following conversation with the caller on the other end of the line:

Fraudster : Hello, John, Habari ya leo.

John: Hello, mzuri sana, (recognizes it’s an unsaved contact) Ni nani?

Fraudster : My name is Kingston, nakupigia kutoka Equity kuhusu account yako.

John: (He is now attentive as he surely does bank with Equity) Enhe, niambie Kingston, kuna shida?

Fraudster: Ndio John, account yako iko karibu kuwa blocked. Imekuwa dormant for too long na lazima we activate it, otherwise itafungwa. All we need is your account number na PIN yako, alafu tutaweza kukusort.

John: Sasawa, wacha nikuangalilie account number kwa card, usikate simu…

Fraudster: Haina shida, niko hapa bado.

John: (turns to his friend Mark, who is a food vendor as well, selling eggs.) Weeuh, Mark karibu nifungiwe account yangu, ebu nitolee kadi yangu ya Equity kwa hii mfuko niwapatie account number wasiblock account.

Mark: (Quickly interjects) Ngoja, ati upatiane account number yako, kwa kina nani hao?

John: Eeee account number na PIN yangu ndio wanahitaji…nimepigiwa na jamaa kutoka Equity.

Mark: Ebu nione hio number (john shows Mark the number displayed on his phone screen) Ebu KATA HIO SIMU haraka, kata hio simu saa hii, hao ni wakora!

John: (Quickly hangs up) Alaa, Mark unasema nini, umejuaje ni wakora?

Mark: Yaani John hujaskia vile watu siku hizi wanatapeliwa na kuibiwa pesa zao. Hiyo number haikuwa kutoka Equity. Equity wanapiga na namba moja peke yake, ambayo ni 0763 000 000. Any other number claiming kuwa Equity, ni wakora tu.

John: Hapo Mzito ….. aki ningeibiwa pesa tu hivo! Imagine sikuwa najua.

Mark: Aaaa mimi nime kaa chonjo! Na nimekataa utapeli kabisa!

If you bank with Equity, it’s important to know that :

  • If the call is not from 0763 000 000, KATA HIYO SIMU!
  • Equity will never call you to activate/unblock your account or register you for mobile
    or online banking.
  • Equity staff will never call you to give you instructions on how to set up your account,
    Equitel line, or register you on *247#,
  • If you receive a call or are approached by anyone asking about your Equity Account
    or to help you register for any of Equity’s digital services.

John survived by the skin of his teeth, he would have easily lost all the money in his account. This could happen to any of us, and that is why we have a duty to protect our valuable personal information and encourage those that we interact with to do the same. Safety while
transacting on digital platforms begins with us.