Central Bank of Kuwait champions financial safety with anti-fraud drive

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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 20: The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) carried out a number of measures to counter financial fraud through directives for financial institutions and banks as well as awareness campaigns for clients and the general masses. On the level of financial institutions, the CBK had put out a number of directives to banks in 2019 to ensure proper governance and boost administrative responsibility, which in turn act as a fail-safe in case of financial fraud.

The CBK also advised Banks’ board of directors to find the most effective means to safeguard information and bolster online security, making it a necessity and a common practice. In February 2020, the CBK finalized a strategic framework for the banking sector’s cybersecurity, which met the minimum needs for governance, risk management, administrative operations, Cloud technology, and systems protecting online payment. The CBK made a mandate for the banking sector to implement the strategy in addition to informing clients on suspicious activities as well as recommending password changes and other measures. Security actions also included the ability to cancel cards and accounts of clients within a short period in addition to preventing the use of credit cards on unauthorized devices.

In April of 2023, the Central Bank issued a memo to local banks in regards to payment links for individuals, mandating that the clients, involved in this type of transaction, must provide the necessary information from banking statements, which includes names of the clients and the reason for the payment. This particular transaction via online link must not exceed 24 hours and must have a certain daily and monthly value ceiling. The CBK, last September, also issued a notification for local banks to ban the use of the malicious “Anydesk” application on smartphones. It also tasked the Kuwait Banking Association (KBA) to establish a round-the-clock-command center to deal with financial fraud and reports from clients in Kuwait. To reinforce banking cards, the CBK had made it imperative for banks to remind clients to activate their cards with their respective banks before usage in addition to measures such as locking the cards in the case of three failed attempts of entering passwords.

In regards to further protecting clients, the CBK launched in December 2022 as a cyber unit to protect clients, which gathers complaints from them against local banks. The Central Bank has been encouraging local financial institutes to establish their respective units in this regard since January 2011. In 2013, it established the clients’ 1864444 complaints hotline. A comprehensive guide for clients’ rights protection was also issued in 2015 to create a safe environment in Kuwait and bolster efforts to counter fraud. The CBK’s measures also focused on boosting public awareness of financial fraud, launching the “Let’s Be Aware” campaign to prevent online fraud. The campaign saw the cooperation of the public and private sectors in addition to the participation of experts.


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