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5:09pm 10/06/2022
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Unauthorized withdrawals: BNM and banks must not just keep quiet
By:Sin Chew Daily

Inaction on the part of Bank Negara will further embolden the cyber criminals, killing the confidence of the public as well as foreign investors in the country’s financial system.

News of unauthorized bank withdrawals on the media is commonplace nowadays, the severity of which must never be dismissed only as isolated cases.

More and more Malaysians fall victim to this crime, and whenever the victims try to settle such problems with their banks, they are often told there’s nothing the banks could do.

The victims are even questioned whether they have adopted the necessary safety precautions, as if they are the ones to be blamed for their ill destiny.

It appears that our banks and police are totally clueless in tackling this issue!

Despite the burning anxiety of the innocent victims, the banks seem completely unperturbed while the police fall into inaction.

Bank deposits are the hard earned savings for may people through years, if not decades, of hard work. Don’t the banks have the slightest sense of responsibility in safeguarding the property of their customers?

No doubt, the victims are partially to take the blame for being negligent, as cited by the banks and police, by installing apps of unidentified sources or sending their money not through the secure official payment channels.

Well, if that is proven to be the case, sure enough the banks could be indemnified against their customers’ losses. The thing is, in more and more cases happening lately, it has been shown that things may not just be as straightforward as they look.

Shouldn’t the banks just offer their full cooperation in police investigations to accord their depositors that peace of mind?

The banks would say oftentimes the victims fail to divulge the whole truth, but this does not therefore free them of their obligations!

There is a contractual relationship between the banks and their customers. If the depositors have done their parts but still suffer financial losses owing to factors beyond their control, the banks are duty-bound to give the depositors the due response.

The agreement signed between the bank and a depositor should explicitly tabulate the responsibilities of both parties, and the bank must not avert its responsibilities when something happens.

Bank services today are very different from, say, years ago. Due to the rise of digital economy, bank customers have been encouraged to embrace paperless operation with most of the transactions and services now performed through machines, bank applications or websites, thus minimizing human-to-human contacts between bank employees and customers. But this also means there emerge new changes in the contractual responsibilities between banks and their customers.

As such, the way banks deliver their services and handle things need to be changed accordingly to fit into the prevalent digitalization ecosystem.

And since the banks are placing so much emphasis on web technologies, they must make sure their online systems are absolutely secure and must regularly inspect their systems for potential loopholes so that their customers can rest assured their hard earned savings are in good hands.

Banks have the obligation to immediately notify their customers of any unusual transactions with their accounts. This is their part in corporate social responsibility to establish mutual trust with their clients.

Sure enough depositors must be absolutely clear about the banks’ official websites and apps and conduct their transactions as per the safety guidelines. All relevant data must be saved after each transaction for verification purposes in the event of any dispute in future.

Anything can happen in the cyber world. Web users must be on high alert constantly to keep their property safe and secure.

Bank Negara has been encouraging the public to use electronic transactions and e-wallets.

While promoting digital economy, perhaps the central bank should first draw up more rigorous rules instead of allowing banks to run their electronic services the way they want, and making the users bear the consequences after something bad happens.

Judging from the complaints received from fraud victims, the way banks respond to the complaints has been utterly passive, much to the frustration of the victims. Can’t they just have more proactive measures or response?

Both banks and Bank Negara must be more proactive and not keep mum about this whole issue, especially when even fixed deposits can vanish on its own!

It is now time for relevant authorities such as Bank Negara, the police CCID (commercial crime investigation department) and MCMC to set up a special squad to comprehensively review the existing bank security mechanisms in a bid to protect the customers’ interests and restore public confidence in our banks.

Inaction on the part of Bank Negara will further embolden the cyber criminals, killing the confidence of the public as well as foreign investors in the country’s financial system.

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Bank Negara
cybersecurity
unauthorized withdrawals
fraud
cybercrime

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