In the pages of this publication lies a story of how Rose Ahebwa lost a cool UGX47M at the hands of highly suspected inside-aided swindle at Equity Bank. Her story was brought to light by a renowned veteran journalist, Aldrine Nsubuga Snr (Click here to read the story). In response to her plight, the remorseless Equity Bank management has advised Ahebwa to seek redress from the Courts of Law.
Before the dust could settle, tens of people came up with different stories, lamenting how they lost their hard-earned bucks at the hands of this very bank. One of such victims is Maxwell Lawrence Muyonjo, our ardent reader. He sent us a DM last night, offering his story for publication, who knows, it could help an unsuspecting client or two! Below is his slightly edited story…
Open Quotes: Hello The Investigator, good morning, I saw your publication on your platform about Equity Bank robbery. I have also been a victim of their internal fraud. I was robbed of Shs30.6 million through Mobile banking and here is my Story, I request u to publish.
On Friday 16th December 2022, I lost my mobile phone in the night and the next day on Saturday 17thDecember, someone accessed my mobile banking by managing to reset my mobile banking PIN and withdrawing or transferring up to UGX30.6M out of the account and to top it off, applying for a 500K instant loan. I reported the issue to Equity bank and also logged a case with CPS [Central Police Station].
On 19th January 2023, (over a month of waiting) Equity Bank called me to pick up a letter with their feedback regarding this theft. The feedback shared states that the thieves reset my mobile banking PIN and received OTP since they had my simcard. However, they completed the second level of authentication using my VISA Card. But the VISA Card was in my possession and still is till to date.
They cannot explain how they obtained my card details. Also, before they reset PIN, they logged into USSD and conducted two balance enquiries. I, in turn, have carried out my own investigation and their response raises the following questions and subsequent findings. Firstly, Equity has two mobile banking Apps running. These are Eazzy App and Equity Mobile, and the USSD *247#.
The Eazzy App is the old App which takes 4-digit PIN whereas the Equity Mobile is new and takes 5-digit PIN. The USSD takes the 4-digit PIN used on the original Eazzy App. In August, while at one of their branches, I was advised by a bank staff to upgrade to the new App as it was more secure. This, I did and un-installed the old App from my phone. However, it turns out that both these Apps are running and the thieves managed to take out the 500K loan from the old App that I thought I had got rid of by registering onto the new App.
Equity says as a customer, its upon me to tell them to discontinue or delete my profile from the old App but they insist on running both Apps because they have not completed migration and upgrading all services onto the new App! How is this the customer`s problem? They are surely not protecting us. My old profile is available, yet I think, like I was told, that it was de-registered since I upgraded to a new and better App!
Secondly, their daily transaction limit for mobile banking is UGX50M! This is not restricted to the usual lower limits of UGX800k to UGX2M that most banks have in place except if a customer takes it upon themselves to request for a limit increase. They therefore aided in the UGX30.6M loss that took place in a single day. This is truly unacceptable as customers are exposed.
Thirdly, the receiving equity bank account withdrew the funds on that same day of transfer and routed to other mobile numbers. On investigations by police upon issuance of a court order to Equity directing them to provide the account opening documents, they seem to have disappeared or never been in existence. They could only share a photo of the account holder and their national ID. Question here is how was an account opened without KYC or account opening documentation? Is this a well-planned crime syndicate operating within Equity?
Fourth, successful PIN reset using my VISA Card that I had in my possession on the day PIN was reset – currently on the new equity App, in order to reset PIN, you receive an OTP and then complete the transaction by either answering some of the security questions you set at registration, contacting the call center or physically visiting Equity. The option for inputting card details is not available.
Fifth, upon complaining to CPS, they were not surprised it was Equity Bank! Apparently, there are numerous complaints and cases logged by customers to Police regarding theft on their mobile and internet banking, out of 10 cases, 9 are from Equity. One policeman even commented thus; “Equity will never allow to pay you that money, and if you are wise, you will close your account and RUN.
Maxwell Lawrence Muyonjo; Close Quotes.
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