It is ironic that we would have to discuss this, we keep money in the bank because we think it’s safe but now too frequent you meet a old man in the banking hall crying that his savings was wiped out or the every market day stories on X (formerly Twitter) of how money kept in the bank was stolen.
All these are linked to the rise of CyberCrime in Nigeria, as fraud gets fragmented we now have those they call ‘Picker’ specialising in laundering stolen funds. A fraudster after gaining unauthorised access to your banking details and Identity hands them over to the picker (co-fraudster) who picks up the money from your account.
Bank customers are not their only victims, banks too are having their own fair share, according to the Financial Institutions Training Center (FITC) in the last quarter of 2023 nigerian bank branches were reported to have lost #5.5 billion naira to fraud(highest in 5 years). They are as well on their toes to curb these incidents.
But the truth remains, Banks are a reliable place to keep your money and it’s safer than under your pillow or in your socks. However, following the old saying –it takes two to tango–, you and your bank have your roles to play in protecting your money. Since Banks have access to expert consultants, I’ll keep my advice to them in my left pocket.
Take these practical steps to further protect your money:
1. Be contented:
Social engineering accounts for a large percentage of frauds within nigeria. fraudsters get close to their victims often by offering juicy business deals (business scams) or romance escapades (romance scams). These close relationships would later be used to get your sensitive banking information or lure you to authorise certain transactions. Being contented, patient and reconsidering your actions would often save you from most forms of social engineering. Also Stick to a line of business you understand perfectly, or be cautious with a new business or Love partner.
2. Protect your banking details:
Avoid sharing sensitive information such as Card details, Pin, One-Time Passcodes (OTP), Token Codes, Mobile Apps login details, BVN or other account information, unless you are certain of the legitimacy of the request. Most Nigerian banks have said it severally that they would never call, SMS, DM you on social media or email you to ask for this information, truly Customer Support representatives of banks are always too busy with In-person complaints to take on these roles.
3. Avoid phishing links:
Do not click on links that randomly find their way to you. Beware of unsolicited messages claiming you have won a prize, lottery, support funds, free internet data, recruitment or empowerment programs, after which you are required to click a link to claim your reward. These links could contain malware or lead to phishing sites that aim to steal your account login credentials or personal details. In your browser settings, activate safe browsing, this warns you when you are visiting unsafe websites.
4. Verify payment requests to unknown accounts:
Scammers who are aware you have pending financial transactions with an entity may send their bank details for payment that does not belong to the entity you are transacting with. It is important you verify the sender’s identity of any Individual or service you are transacting with along with their banking information before making any payments even if they are your friends.
5. Avoid social media customer complaint channels:
Fraudsters often clone social media pages of banks and Mobile Money Agent, they do this to prey on customers that have Complaint, acting as if they are trying to help you and requesting additional sensitive banking information especially OTP. If you would make a complaint, in-app complaint or physically going to the bank remains the best option.
6. Secure your mobile device:
Secure your smartphones and tablets with lock screen or biometric authentication. If your phone gets stolen in public, contact your bank to deactivate your Debit Card (ATM) and e-payment transactions. Your smartphone is your authorization tool for your bank payment, protect it!
It is important you remain aware of newer ways cyber scams are perpetuated as this would significantly reduce their success rate, while we hope banks continue to improve on digital payment authentication, recovery of stolen funds and improved communication with victims.
Sakariyah Suleiman: A qualified accountant (ICAN) with a key interest in Ethical Banking and Actuarial studies. [email protected]