MANY Malaysians have fallen victim to phone and online scams, which cause their savings to be transferred out of their bank accounts without their consent.
Although no precise statistics have been reported, it was recently reported by the media that between 2020 and May 2022, almost 72,000 cases of fraud were reported, involving losses of over RM5.2 bil.
In other words, every day in Malaysia there are more than 80 cases of fraud, causing Malaysians to lose almost RM6 mil collectively.
Therefore, it is time for the Government to take more decisive steps on this issue.
Firstly, the banking sector should be required to improve its security system as a whole, including the consumer-side process.
It may be that the bank’s internal system is safe from the risk of being hacked, but with the rise of online banking, consumer devices such as mobile phones and personal computers do not have the security capabilities of a bank’s internal system.
Thus, the banking sector should be held responsible for refining the entire security system, including processes involving user devices.
Secondly, the process for the victim to get back their lost money should be simplified and accelerated.
Often the case of getting the victim’s money back will take several months, and with luck, the money will be returned. However, with the current policy, the bank will manage to wash its hands in most cases and the victim will not get any compensation despite waiting for months.
“Don’t let banks off the hook so easily”
Therefore, thirdly, banks should not be easily let off the hook by giving excuses that all internal security measures have been implemented.
In many cases, it was reported that depositors never got the transaction authorisation code (TAC) but yet their money was transferred. The bank, on the other hand, stated that the code had been sent.
In such situations where the current policy favours the banks, the banks can finally wash their hands of their responsibilities.
This policy should be changed so that banks are held accountable for the loss of money that occurs at their hands.
Fourthly, protection such as Perbadanan Insuran Insuran Malaysia (PDIM) should be expanded to face new risks such as online fraud since banking now involves more online transactions, which are exposed to such cases.
Fifthly, the enforcement authorities should increase their capacity to detect, arrest and subsequently prosecute the masterminds of these fraud cases. Fraud syndicates must be destroyed.
The strange thing is, if even the phone conversations of ministers and politicians can be detected, recorded and disclosed, why are the enforcement agencies unable to detect the scammers involved through phone conversations with victims?
The Government needs to stop giving space to the banks to keep making excuses on this issue.
All this time, people believe that their money is safe in the bank, but when there is a weakness in the banking security system, the banks have to take responsibility and play their role. – Sept 24, 2022
Steven Sim is the DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main photo credit: Getty Images