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Thursday, May 22, 2008

How Safe Is Our Money In The Banks?

It seems banks are not the revered places that we once thought. Just a week after writing about a friend who suffered an infiltrated account under an indigenous bank, today the daily nation money magazine is reporting the case Mr. Walubengo who had chillingly similar woes but this time with a local subsidiary of a heavily capitalized international bank which they say was among last year’s aggressive lenders.

Mr. Walumbengo and his wife Alice first lost Kshs.32,000/-in 1996 when they were transferring their money from the Nyeri to Nairobi branch. The money seems to have disappeared in transit with the Nyeri branch insisting that they had transferred it while the Nairobi branch of the same bank denied receipt of the same. They traveled extensively to Nairobi trying to trace their cash but gave up in frustration as the bank kept passing the buck between the branches. They decided to let go of the money.

February this year the couple noticed some curious ATM withdrawals from their statements. Another Kshs.32,000/- had disappeared from their accounts between December, 2007 and January, 2008. Some of the withdrawals were made at midnight in locations where they didn’t even know the bank has ATMs. Incidentally the withdrawals were made in branches where the ATMs have no security apparatus like CCTV. The bank insisted that the withdrawals were made using Mrs. Walubengo’s card and heaped blame on her for letting someone else access it. But according to her nobody else except her husband knew her PIN number. They were simply asked to retrace their steps while the bank too carried out their investigations.

But the bank was not done with the couple yet. Even after reporting the case, another Kshs.4,000/- disappeared and they decided to freeze the account. Two weeks later they were hit with another weird withdrawal of Kshs.31,000/- in cash advances even when for over 10 years they had never used a credit card to withdraw cash. They closed the account in frustration. But after the credit card saga, an account that the couple keeps with the same bank for heavy medical expenses was infiltrated and they lost a further Kshs.43,000/-. The bank is still investigating that too.

An employee of the bank admitted that there are numerous card fraud cases and many are still being investigated.

This story is adopted from the Daily Nation Money Magazine.

See also: Is your money safe in the bank?

14 comments:

BP ONE said...

Shiko, This case of Bank employees stealing from their customers is very disturbing. Since we can't keep our cash at home and there is no alternative in the near future, I advice the readers of this article to visit this link http://www.scambusters.org/bank.html...I am sure it will help.

Wanjiku Unlimited said...

You're right BP this is no longer funny. Thanks for the link. I see even people outside our borders are having a few fraud problems of their own.

Mcheku said...

I think some things can only happen in Kenya, kusema ukweli!! They just steal from the same account all the time and nothing can be done about it? Our banking laws must be so lax if people can get away with this!

Ivy, my dear how are you? I told you I underwent substantial transformation? Hehehehe...I know you will figure it out.

Acolyte said...

All I advise is watching your bank account like a hawk and at the sniff of trouble moving your money as fast as possible!
Since I have bank accounts outside the country, when I get back to Kenya I am contemplating having most of my money in them and wiring money into my Kenyan accounts on an as is needed basis.

Anonymous said...

Which bank is that? Equity Bank?

Anonymous said...

Annon@ 5:23am.Does it matter which bank? May be it is your bank, we cant tell. Just make sure they are not stealing from your account.

Wanjiku Unlimited said...

5.23 I think I know where you're going or coming from. Is Equity a local subsidiary of a heavily capitalized international bank? Read the article properly and keep a close watch on your statements.

Kalamari upo? What we said earlier may already be playing out.

Anonymous said...

Put your money in Swiss Bank. Interest free banking!

Anonymous said...

Huh, I guess i am too bright, Mcheku i have figured it out already, but just know my marks were not topped up i worked hard for them. Enyewe usipotee sana...You know this blog needs your kind for us to remain sane.....Now one more fish, Chicity

Ivy

Anonymous said...

why not just start banking with the islamic bank? watching your statements like a hawk is too costly. no point in banking where you dont trust, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wanjiku,

am sure there are some/many who appreciate the effort to bring up some non political discussion but as you've noted its hard to defuse the political tension. this election flaws went deep and no matter how hard we try it will not wash and be business as usual for some time. the only true remedy is another election be it now or in 2012, only then will the acrimony subside.

on the topic on hand, all banks are frauds, and just necessary evils. picture this, to deposit your money into your account you get billed x shs. to withdraw, you get billed x shs, at the end of the month you get billed monthly fee and another at the end of the year. its called bank operations, i call it smart theft.

those skimming operations have been going on for years, it appears the skimmers are now getting greedy (as all thieves do) and taking out larger more noticeable chunks. when that happens (impunity), its an indicator of "invincibility" i.e perfected to point of cant catch me or you can do nothing about it, implying collusion with or advanced and highly sophisticated crook networking (involving some tough entities)

or what do you think?

UrXlnc

Anonymous said...

Shiko, you`re back again with Money stuff.

You are smart, email me i`m in canada now..

.com.au remember

Wanjiku Unlimited said...

UrXlnc it's true skimmers are getting more and more greedy. It's good for us to broadcast what is happening so that people can be vigilant about their accounts - banks are not to be trusted any more.

Anonymous said...

islamic banking is the way to go

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