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How a KCB customer lost Sh0.5million in a fraud traced to london

By Paul Wafula | Published Sat, September 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 7th 2018 at 19:42 GMT +3
The money is said to have been withdrawn through 10 mysterious online transactions.

In summary

  • Lender probes mysterious Sh0.5m loss of customer funds
  • Case is the latest of rising fraud in the banking sector
  • Money is said to have been withdrawn through 10 mysterious online transactions

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) is investigating a case in which nearly Sh0.5 million is said to have disappeared from one of its customers account under unclear circumstances.

Ms Carolyne Cherono, a Kitale-based businesswoman, said she lost Sh458,000 from her bank account through 10 online transactions purportedly done in London despite the fact that she has never been there.

Trouble started in May this year when her ATM card stopped working and she visited her bank to find out what had happened. “I was informed that I needed to write a letter every time I needed to use my card whenever I left the country. This I was told was a new measure to protect the bank’s customers from fraud. But it appears I was giving the information to be used by someone to do the fraud,” she told Weekend Business.

In a complaint to the lender, Ms Cherono, lists 10 transactions on her account that she claims were done by the fraudster. But over a month since she lodged the complaint, she said, the issue has not been resolved.   

“I would like to bring to your attention that yesterday, 20th July 2018, I received a message on my phone on a transaction I had not authorised,” she wrote in her complaint.

She said she brought the matter to the attention of the bank’s customer care department immediately but was later shocked to learn that it was not the only transaction that had happened. There were nine others, which she claimed she never received the usual notification on her phone.

That is when she demanded to see her bank statements which revealed just how much she had lost. “Most of the transactions happened online. Someone wrote an email requesting to use my card. I have never been to London. The dates are aligned to my travel times. It’s like someone had my travel details and would use this to commit this fraud,” she said. All the suspicious transactions happened in May and June. The biggest withdrawal was Sh89,927 on July 6. Other withdrawals of between 5,000 and 85,000 also happened within the period.

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“I have not divulged my account information to anyone except when I applied for my card to be opened for my use out of the country,” she writes. KCB said it was investigating the matter and was in touch with the client to find a way to resolve the case.

“The matter as raised is under investigation and the bank is in contact with the customer,” said Peter Kimani, the corporate communications manager, adding that he would not discuss private banking information regarding the case.

Cases of bank customers losing huge amounts of cash under mysterious circumstances have been on the rise lately.

Last month, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to increase the level of scrutiny of employees to reduce fraud. The latest cybersecurity report released earlier this year by consultancy Serianu indicates although 85 per cent of respondents have felt the impact of cybercrime either through system downtimes or loss of funds.

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