The Kenyan financial sector has in the recent years continued to embrace technology in its operations in a bid to offer their customers faster and more convenient banking.

The success of online banking has been largely credited on the outstanding penetration of mobile money transfer platforms across the country, especially Safaricom’s M-Pesa solution.

Banks, Micro Finance Banks (MFB) and Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) have adopted digital channels in their rush to expand their financial services away from branches.

Mobile banking is now a significant source of revenue for most financial institutions in Kenya and has become the most preferred channel for most customers seeking banking services.

However, mobile banking continues to face a a host of cybercrime threats as criminals in the cyberspace target mobile banking platforms to defraud financial institutions and customers.

Cyber criminals continue to target mobile platforms using their vulnerabilities and other crooked means making them riskier compared to other channels availed by banking firms.

According to a report published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in 2022, nearly five per cent or US$4.7 trillion of corporate revenue is lost to fraud each year.

The rising oil and food prices, and interest rates have pushed up the cost of living across globe making financial institutions a growing target for online fraud in 2023 and 2024.

Fraud losses are expected to increase significantly in 2024 as such criminal cases surge amid growing crime-as-a-service (CaaS) accessible on the dark web and messaging platforms.

The threat of phishing scams is expected to continue alongside love, investment and delivery scams, as well as deep fakes that have dominated frauds reported in the year 2023.

In its recently released Q3 2023 results, Equity Group Holdings revealed that 82 per cent of all transactions are now cashless as the Group continues with digitization in its operations.

Equity MD & CEO Dr James Mwangi says 98 per cent of transactions are outside branches, which now handle SME transactions, corporates, wealth management and advisory services.

Equity Bank has taken various stringent measures to deal with online fraud amid a growing demand for its Equity Mobile App and Equity Online solutions.

Equity Bank, with Dr James Mwangi as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer continues to assure its customers that it has duly dealt with reported incidences of fraud.

Any customer who feels aggrieved by any incident touching on their bank accounts has been asked to reach out to the bank through its verified social media pages or call 0763 000 000.

The Group says it has been investing in advanced technological safety measures in recent years as part of its commitment to keep the bank accounts of its millions of customers safe.

Equity says it will continue creating awareness on rising fraud and asked its customers not to share their PIN, Password, OTP, and personal data including date of birth and ID number.

The Kenyan financial institution further asked its customer not to click on any suspicious links sent to them and not to give anyone access to their Banking App or SIM Card for safety.

Here are a few tips from Equity on how to secure your banking transactions:

REMEMBER your CODE or OTP is your secret. DO NOT share with anyone or allow anyone to assist you to perform any transaction from your phone. You can do all your transactions yourself.

• DO NOT save your PIN, Banking Details on your phone. NEVER share personal details especially your ID number/Account Number via SMS or call with anyone.

• Contact the Bank immediately if you lose your Equitel line, Equity Payment Card or phone so that the cards and digital banking solutions are blocked.

• Avoid using passwords or PINs that are easy for someone else to guess e.g. sequence number 7777, your year of birth, current year, your ID number etc

• All official calls from Equity will only come from ONE Number 0763 000 000. Kindly DO NOT engage anyone who calls you from any other number other than 0763 000 000.

• Remember no Equitel or Equity Staff will ever call to ask you for your CODE, OTP, ID Number or any other personal

• Should you ever receive a call and you are asked for your CODE, OTP, or input your PIN, immediately terminate the call and forward the phone number used to reach you to 333 via SMS.

• Always note that all messages from EQUITEL (Finserve) or EQUITY, shall have a sender’s title reference “EQUITEL” or “EQUITY”. You will NEVER receive SMSs from Equitel or Equity using personal lines or personal numbers.

• If you receive a text message informing you that your account has been BLOCKED, SUSPENDED, DEACTIVATED because of one reason or another or due to KRA PIN or linked to another account, please do not call that number.

• At Equity, we do not block your accounts and will not require you to call us to unblock your account.

• Should you come across anyone purporting to be Equity / Equitel (Finserve) employees, pretending to be testing for Equitel network signal do not give them your phone or engage with them.

• Avoid participating in any promotions that are purported to be from Equity or Equitel. Our promotions will never ask you to send money in order to participate nor will it be communicated through personal numbers.

• Some fraudsters also impersonate Equity sales agents for SIM Cards, phones or technicians checking signal Please note that all Equitel SIM Cards and phones are only sold at branches and selected Equity agents. If you meet such people, please ignore them and contact us immediately. Avoid direct confrontation.

• Delete all text messages from the Bank especially before you share or sell your device. Whenever in doubt, please contact us through the official contact centre number 0763 000 000 or visit the nearest Equity Branch. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

• Do not reply to SMS messages offering soft loans, informing you that your account has a problem or you have won a competition that you did not participate in. Ignore, and report that number by sending it via SMS to 333.

• Always keep your Equity Card with you. Again, do not share your PIN with anyone. When making transactions at an agent or at a merchant (paying for goods and services at hotels, supermarkets) ensure that you can always see your card at all times, and that the Agent only records your account number.

• Ensure you log out from your online banking platforms and check that your password is not autosaved by your browser or phone. If you have any questions or clarifications, we advise you to:

o Visit any Equity branch or any branded Equity Agent near you

o Call 100 from your Equitel line for free

o Call 0763 000 000 from any other mobile network.

o Inform the village elders or authorities when you spot these fraudsters.