ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Wednesday informed the Senate that during the first 10 months of the current year as many as 1,244 complaints were received regarding unauthorised transactions made through automated teller machines (ATMs) and Internet Banking Fund Transfers.
Of the 1,244 complaints, 524 were turned into regular inquiries and 35 into FIRs while 463 were being verified at the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Seventy-six suspects were apprehended.
The ministry provided the information in response to a question put by independent Senator Rana Mahmood-ul-Hassan, who wanted to know about the total number of complaints regarding illegal and unauthorised bank transactions made through ATMs or other means since January 1 and details of the persons apprehended in the cases during the period.
He also asked about the total number of complaints that were pending with FIA and the steps being taken by the government to curb the menace of illegal transactions made in connivance with banks.
In a written reply, State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi said a total of 1,244 complaints had been registered by November 8, of which 222 were still pending with the FIA’s cybercrime wing.
However, he said, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was the regulatory body for all commercial/national banks as well as international banks in the country with regard to any sort of transaction.
“Therefore, SBP is in a better position to apprise about the measures taken in this regard. Moreover, FIA is an investigation agency and takes legal action on the receipt of complaints from customers of different banks involved in such illegal transactions from their bank accounts,” said the minister’s reply.
Cybersecurity is a major concern among managers of the global financial system. Only last month it was reported by some news organisations that data of major Pakistani banks had been hacked.
It was also revealed that information about bank accounts and passwords were actually “sold” in the international market through the “dark web”. As a result, some Pakistani banks had suspended the use of debit cards abroad and a number of them advised their account holders to change their ATM pin numbers.
On the other hand, SBP had said the banks had taken various steps to protect their information technology systems after instructions from the central bank. It had assured the account holders that they would not lose their money in case a mishap took place.
Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2018