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Equity Bank Kenya’s $2.1 Million Debit Card Fraud Case: 19 Suspects in Custody

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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Equity Bank, one of Kenya’s largest financial institutions, has been hit by a debit card fraud scheme. This led to the theft of approximately $2.1 million (KES 179.6 million) from numerous accounts. 

Equity Bank

The breach has sparked a major investigation by Kenyan authorities, with 19 suspects already arrested in connection with the fraud. 

The police are involved and hope to bring the perpetrators to book. They further stated that the investigation was ongoing. 

Equity Bank, A Victim of Debit Card Fraud Scheme

The criminals reportedly performed a “card-not-present” scam,  using stolen card details to shop online, to defraud unsuspecting victims. The funds are then moved to other bank accounts.

Gerald Munyiri, Equity Bank’s general manager of security and investigations, confirmed that the bank has detected these irregularities. Additionally, he stated that they are actively collaborating with the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to trace and recover the stolen funds. The bank has also reached out to Safaricom and the other affected banks to assist in these efforts.

Equity Bank Fraud Incident Reveals Security Issues In Kenyan Banking Sector

This fraud incident has emphasized the ongoing security challenges in the Kenyan banking sector. Despite increasing investment in cybersecurity measures, Kenyan banks continue to face significant threats, with the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) flagging over $600 million linked to card fraud, Additionally to card fraud are corruption, and terrorism financing in recent years.

According to Kahawatungu, the Equity Bank fraud incident comes only days after Kenya’s National Assembly approved the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Regulations, 2024. 

Conclusion

The regulations will set up the framework to monitor, detect, and address cybersecurity threats within the country’s cyberspace. Also, it will stipulate how to deal with scams, identity theft, hacking, and Internet fraud, among other things.

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Abdullahi Kafayat
Abdullahi Kafayat

Abdullahi Kafayat is an enthusiastic writer interested in the tech world. She's a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has a BSc in Chemistry. You can reach her at Kafayatabdullahi17@gmail.com.

Articles: 275

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