Another huge fraud scandal hits Equity Bank Uganda as customer loses UGX.47m

Rose Ahebwa claims she lost Shs47m on her Equity Bank account on 18th December, 2022.

Rose Ahebwa claims she lost Shs47m on her Equity Bank account on 18th December, 2022.

Equity Bank Uganda has said it is investigating an incident where their customer lost Shs47m in alleged fraud.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Equity Bank said it is giving the incident due attention contrary to claims that it has been tossing around the complainant.

“Dear Customers, Attention is brought to the issue circulating on social media. We wish to confirm that the incident has been given due attention and is being handled with the seriousness it deserves,” Equity Bank said.

They added: “While we cannot divulge customer information, we reassure our customers and the general public that the matter has been noted and due process is being followed to resolve the same. This includes collaborating with the relevant investigative authorities. We are also in close contact with the customer to ensure that the matter is brought to closure.”

This comes after Rose Ahebwa claimed she lost Shs47m on her Equity Bank account on 18th December, 2022.

According to Ahebwa, who has since opened a case with Police under Case Ref: SD 44/19/12/2022, said a few days after opening an account with Equity Bank where she deposited the money in 2nd week of December, she received a bank customer service call and answered all their questions.

All seemed okay. A few days later, she says she was looking into an empty account after going to make a withdraw.

She said her attempts to get help from the bank were futile as she was tossed everywhere. She has also since sought the services of a lawyer.

Cases of fraud at Equity Bank are not new. In 2021, Edith Nakacwa lost Shs21.9m from her account, which was done using Eazzy Money App which she never initiated. The bank eventually refunded her money.

According to a 2020 report by Summit Project Frontline, the annual cost of cybercrime in Uganda for the 2019/20 financial year stood at Shs11.4b.

However, the report notes, that real cost could be much more than reported since a number of fraud cases, especially in the banking sector, are quietly handled.

The cost also include other associated expenses such as incident response, investigations and reputational damage. According to the report, during the period, the combined value of the economic crime cases handled stood at slightly more than Shs171b, with an average of Shs379m direct loss per case.

It is worth noting that many cyber incidents in Uganda (and the East African Community at large) go unreported to protect the reputation of affected entities.

In 2019, it was reported that close to Shs9b was lost in a cyber-attack that targeted banks, mobile money operators and payment aggregators.

The 2020 Uganda Police Annual Crime report– indicates that obtaining money by false pretences was the highest crime reported under the category of economic crimes, followed by forgeries and cyber related crimes.

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