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KARACHI: Technological solutions and customer awareness are two crucial aspects of combating the rising incidents of financial crimes across the country, said Federal Banking Ombudsman Sirajuddin Aziz.

Speaking as a guest of honour at a conference “Financial Crimes in the Digital Age”, organised by Eastnets in collaboration with Dellsons Associates here on Saturday, he said the banks should continue to upgrade their systems towards strengthening the data security of their customers, besides bringing reforms to plug the loopholes in the practices and mechanisms that made the data of customers accessible to white collar criminals.

He mentioned that victims of financial crimes in Pakistan are highly qualified, ironically, as against fraudsters who are less educated but tactical in deceiving the public into getting their credentials to steal money from bank accounts; therefore, the need for awareness among bankers and customers of banks is high and ongoing.

Asaan Bank Accounts are frequently reported to be used for fraudulent activities as organised criminals are exploiting this facility for their ease, unfortunately due to the negligence of banks in compliance with KYC of customers, Federal Banking Ombudsman said.

Nadeem Hussain, Chairman of Pakistan Fintech Network, said the banks should have a prime responsibility to build a culture of awareness on data privacy within the system and then among customers on a priority basis with investment in technology and education.

He pointed out that the personal details of customers, including OTPs, are easily compromised in this digital age being available on the dark web, which could be protected as banks must adopt new software and applications and customers build habits to change their passwords again and again.

Hazem Mulhim, founder and CEO Eastnets said the fourth industrial revolution is emerging in the world, and Artificial Intelligence is transforming every industry including the financial sector.

The financial institutions need to revamp its system through the acquisition of cybersecurity technology and capacity building of the workforce. Organised financial crimes are increasing worldwide constituting 2% of the global GDP. The banking regulator imposed huge penalties on financial institutions for failure to compliance with regulations to prevent the loss of money at the hands of criminals, but regulatory measures are not enough to stop the menace.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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