Olarewaju Alale is just one out of many Nigerians who have fallen victim to fraudulent withdrawal from their bank accounts after their hard-earned money suddenly disappeared from their bank accounts.
A visit to official social media handles of any deposit money bank, and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), will convince any die-hard believer that cyber scam is real and that unsuspecting customers of banks are daily losing their savings in banks’ custody to fraudsters.
While the banks and even CBN are accused of not being prompt in resolving customers’ complaints, both entities are equally accused of never taking action at all in some cases, leaving the customers to bear losses for faults traceable to the banks.
“That experience I have is very bad; that money affected me a lot; I won’t lie to you,” Alale told our correspondent as he narrated his ordeal which happened over two years ago. “Till now, I am still on it, pushing today, tomorrow and nothing has been done,” he wailed.
According to him, the total amount of the money fraudulently withdrawn from his account which he did not initiate or authorised was N700,000 of which the bank has recovered N409,500.
“But for them (bank) to push the recovered N409,500 to my account is still a problem. They said I should get a court order, which I did.” I sent the court order to Zenith Bank since yet the money has not been refunded to my account, he said.
Alale explained that the money was removed from his account at about 12:05 am on that unfaithful night. “The money was moved from my account. The first alert I got was N500,000 and the others were in smaller bits but before I could block the account the whole money was gone,” he narrated.
He recalled that a week before the incident, he had an issue which he reported to Zenith Bank. It was that he wanted to buy something online and to pay through his mobile app but discovered that he could not authenticate payment anymore through the use of fingerprints.
According to him, when he got to one of the Zenith Bank branches at Isaac Jones at Ikeja, Lagos, the bank customer care who attended to him had to uninstall the bank’s app on his phone and reset his account as that was the only solution they said could solve his problem.
Some days later, the unauthorised withdrawal took place. Though he was able to trace the transfer to a Wema Bank account, where the bulk of the money was pushed, and a Zenith Bank account where about N40,000 was also pushed. However, the matter has been a case of come today; come tomorrow, Alale said.
“The sum of N409,500 was recovered out of the N500,000 sum in question. This amount is due to be refunded from Chippercash upon presentation of a required court order in respect of the fraud. Recall that this requirement had been communicated to you which you confirmed yesterday 29/12/2020 that you are working to procure the order from Ogun state since courts in Lagos are currently not obliging you.
“Kindly note that we are eager to proceed immediately as you provide the court order as earlier instructed,” Innocent Molokwu, Branch Manager at Zenith Bank, Apapa Road Ebute Metta, Lagos, confirmed the incident in an email sent to Alale.
Cyber-attack is a life-long profession of some dubious people, which others must find a way to mitigate, the Director of Sustainability at Prunedge, Ayodele Ajayi, told our correspondent.
“Because it is a way of getting real money anyway, people are involved in it. It is a real-time dedication of some people to try and stiffen the Internet,” he said.
According to Ajayi, the first way to get around cyber fraud is to continually advance the use of Internet security. “If some people are doing it as a job to create a security threat, we cannot afford to be looking at them. So, we will equally develop an advanced capacity to counter whatever they are coming out with.”
The second is by enforcement of regulation around it, he added, “If there is strict regulation, and if people are caught in that kind of offence, bringing them to a formal or normal penalty that is attached to it will serve as a deterrent to others who indulge in it. This will make a lot of difference as long as it serves as a deterrent. Of course, before you can do that you must also have your own advanced technology to counteract what they are doing.”
In its recent survey, Kaspersky Digital Payment disclosed that 98 per cent of respondents from Nigerians want banks and other payment companies to educate users more about cyber threats in the use of their solutions.
The survey shows that more than half of users in Nigeria faced phishing scams when using digital payments.
It also shows that 61 per cent of the respondents faced phishing scams when using online banking or mobile wallet services; 67 per cent have personally encountered fake websites, and a staggering 82 per cent experienced scams (via texts or calls) using social engineering.
As such the survey indicated that Nigerians want existing banking apps and mobile wallets upgraded with more security features.
About 76 per cent want the implementation of one-time-passwords (OTPs) via SMS for every transaction; 75 per cent, biometric security like facial or fingerprint recognition; 64 per cent, two-factor authentication; 39 per cent, automated detection and intervention for fraudulent transactions; and 22 per cent, point-to-point encryption, it added.
The Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa, Bethwel Opil, said, “Whether we talk about the proliferation of phishing scams or mobile malware, it is important to establish some basic cybersecurity standards. Advanced security solutions, which are able to filter out most of the generic attack vectors, supplemented with other preventive measures such as good cybersecurity awareness and regular password changes, can help to keep your financial transactions secure.”
The security company urged users to embrace digital payment technologies securely by avoiding the use of public Wi-Fi to make any online transactions; not sharing their PIN, password or any other financial information with anyone online or offline; and using a separate credit or debit card to make online transactions among others.
It also urged banks and digital payment service companies to invest in holistic cybersecurity solutions that could help detect fraud across multiple levels of online payment processes and consumer touchpoints as well as conduct cyber awareness training for employees continuously.
This will help employees know the red flags to look for when an organisation is under attack and to understand their role in protecting the organisation, Kaspersky stated in the report.