My story today has some veeery bad news and some good news.
The very bad news is that a relative of mine was once fired from a bank; fired for a mistake not entirely of his own doing. The mistake had led to someone withdrawing millions from another person’s account through impersonation.
He was at the desk one day when this self-assured woman showed up. A woman with a swagger and a sweet tongue. A woman with a sharp mind and a calculative mindset. A quietly dangerous woman.
Somehow, this woman presented herself quite well and she wanted to withdraw some money. She presented a signature that my boy thought wasn’t too far from the sample in the system, and so she got her money.
After that, she became a regular visitor. She would come after every few days to withdraw cash. And there was something magical about her, in that she was a generous giver. Whoever served her at the teller got a great tip afterwards.
I don’t know how this lady looked like but from the stories my relative gives me, I believe she must have looked exactly how Delilah looked like on those days when strong people would tear a lion into two by pulling at either jaw. Nowadays strong people hug each other in boxing rings and make billions from it. If not Delilah, she must have looked something like that Potiphar wife who lusted over Joseph then later unleashed a fake rape narrative, long before the hashtag #BelieveHer was a thing.
Anyway, being a great tipper meant tellers would do anything to serve her. Any teller would want to clear anyone ahead of her in the queue to get to serve her and get the fat tip. As you can imagine, these tellers were so blinded by the handsome returns that they did not so much as scrutinise the details she had filled into the withdrawal papers.
There was another curious thing she did, in that whenever she made a withdrawal, she always withdrew an amount less than Kshs.300,000. Anything above that required authorisation by the branch manager and she would chezea around Kshs.270,000 to Kshs.280,000. How didn’t anyone suspect her? It’s still a puzzle.
It was only later when the real account owner, who must have been living abroad or something, realised that all she had in the deposits had been swept clean. And we are talking about more than Kshs.5 million.
So she raised a complaint. And an investigation began. My relative became the fall guy because it was established that he was the first person to let the cunning woman use her forged identity. And in all honesty, her signature was nowhere close to the original holder’s.
It also later emerged that the identity thief had been making withdrawals from another branch of the bank, where tellers were equally eager to server her.
Sacrificed for this, but lucky to have escaped prosecution, my relative went to another profession. He has never been a banker since.
By now some people might be asking: What’s the good news in all this? Well, it is that there is now a FOOLPROOF solution, a solution we are selling.
The world has since gone biometric and at our company, this is one of the solutions we offer clients. Banks, Saccos and any organisation that handles cash – or let’s say customer data – cannot be duped by an identity thief when the systems are in place. Reliance on the outdated signatures is now a thing of the past.
All it takes is procuring our systems, installing them, then at the first point of contact with the customer, their biometrics are stored in the system. No more cunning persons coming to impersonate others because you can’t forge fingerprints and facial details. Biometric is the future, and the future is here!
But do you know which profession my relative turned to? That will be the subject of my next long post.
BY CORNELIUS TONUI OF THE MICROPOINT SYSTEMS LIMITED