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Banks Battle Fraudsters over Fake Alerts



Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country are stepping up measures to check the activities of fraudsters who defraud some Nigerians through fake bank alerts scam.


According to findings by New Telegraph, banks have been getting increasing reports of fraudsters using fake bank SMS notifications to dupe their (banks’) customers.


According to sources, while most bank customers sign up for SMS notifications as these help account holders track movement in their accounts, fraudsters pose as potential buyers of goods or services provided by the bank customer and after both parties have agreed on a price, send fake SMS’s indicating they have deposited money into the sellers’ account.


The criminals usually count on their target, believing the SMS is real and would not bother to confirm with his/her bank before releasing the goods.


Commenting on the issue, a top official of a new generation bank, who did not want to be named, said that lenders were concerned about the development and were mulling measures to address it. He revealed that one of the steps being considered was for banks to change the format of their SMS notifications in such a way that these alerts will contain security features that will be impossible for fraudsters to copy.


The official explained that the current format of bank alerts could be easily duplicated by fraudsters who send the fake alert to their target in the same manner bulk SMS are sent.


The said: “It is very easy these days for anyone who wants to send a fake bank alert to do this by closely studying the format in which the target’s bank sends its alerts. When the fraudster masters the format, he can, just by using Google search, send a fake alert to the target’s phone.”


Stressing that cybercrime, particularly in Internet banking, remains high, the official advised people to always double  check any alert they receive from their bank.




“Any person receiving a credit alert should contact their account officers or someone in the bank to confirm the transaction. People can also look at their bank statement to make sure that the money was in fact deposited,” the official stated, adding that people must be extremely cautious, especially when they receive a bank alert that is occasioned by a transaction with a person that is not too well known to them.


Also, in a chat with this newspaper, head, operations at a Lagos branch of a Tier 2 bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, insisted that fraud is so rampant in the system that account holders should always ensure that they cross check all SMS notifications that they get with their financial institutions.


The official said: “Fake bank alerts is not really a new scam. In fact, fraudsters have so upgraded their ‘skills’ that the advice I usually give to customers is to ensure that they have someone in the bank that they can ask to confirm any transaction on their accounts. Only recently, one of our customers complained that a friend of his, from whom he  had purchased a product, claimed that the payment did not hit his account a week after the transaction was done.


“Meanwhile, our records showed that the funds actually left our bank and that the seller’s account ought to have been credited. When we requested him (seller) to produce his bank statement, he actually brought a fake statement that seemed to prove that the money did not hit his account. It took further investigations in collaboration with his bank head office to show that he was lying.”


Interestingly, financial experts attribute the rampant fraud in the system to the high level of unemployment in the country. For instance, data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shows that the banking sector recorded 31,736 fraud cases involving the sum of N16.5 billion between January 2014 and December 2016.


The fraud statistics, which are contained in the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Report, prepared by CBN’s Banking and Systems Payment Department, indicate that the frauds were perpetrated through various payment channels in the banking sector such as Across the Counter, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), cheques, Internet banking, mobile banking, Point-of-Sale and web transactions.


The study stated that in the last three years, there had been more attempts in the number of fraud cases, adding that the development might be linked to the economic hardship being experienced in the country.


Specifically, the report stated that the volume of fraud cases rose by 635.3 per cent from 1,461 incidents in 2014 to 10,743 in 2015. Between 2015 and 2016, the report stated that the incidents of fraud rose by 81.8 per cent from 10,743 to 19,532 cases.

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Regulators Mull Clampdown on Accounts, GSM Phones Used for Fraud



Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may soon introduce a scheme that will enable banks and telecommunications companies to ban owners of any bank account or the Global System for Mobile Communications line traced to fraud.


The CBN, NCC is reportedly working with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) following the spate of electronic fraud involving (USSD banking) telephone lines and Internet banking transfers.


When introduced, owners of any bank account or GSM line traced to any fraud case, especially electronic fraud, would be banned for life from operating any bank account or GSM in Nigeria.

The pervasive electronic banking fraud in the banking sector has left customers, banks and regulators waxing worriedly.


Some experts claimed that the most significant risks to banks are self-serving or criminal acts carried out by some insiders.


According to them, when these insiders use their technical knowledge to alter or disable security controls, it can be even more difficult to detect abuse.


But it becomes more dangerous when insiders conspire with criminals outside, showing that depositors money in the banks are not safe.


For instance, fraudsters now inundate banks’ customers with SMSes to authenticate accounts with banks.


The preciseness of the messages with accompanying data show they could only have gotten the details from insiders in the banks.

Elsewhere, cyber security experts have also  berated telecommunications operators over the prevalence of SIM swap fraud in the country, arguing that such fraud could be possible with an insider in the network operator of the subscriber that is targeted.


SIM swapping is a sophisticated form of fraud and falls under social engineering. Fraudsters will distribute phishing emails, trying to ascertain as much personal information from victims as possible.

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FCMB Promotes Entrepreneurship Among Youths



First City Monument Bank, FCMB, has sponsored capacity building programme for almost 1,000 members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.

Tagged: ’Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme’, it was in partnership with Activate Success Foundation.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Olu Akanmu, Executive Director, Retail Banking at FCMB,  said: “FCMB Flexx account empowers Nigerian youths with the entrepreneurial and employability skills they need. Many youths set up their own businesses from their campuses.

FCMB will be there with them to provide the necessary entrepreneurial and business skills they need to make great successes out of their businesses.

FCMB will also provide great support for the youth businesses and work with them to nurture and grow the youth entrepreneurial ventures.”

Also speaking, Founder Activate Success, Love Idoko said: ‘’I have a penchant for motivating people. There are business-minded youths out there that are just looking for mentorship or business ideas and funds to start their businesses.”

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Global Heists on ATM Machines Imminent- FBI



America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned banks in Nigeria and others across the globe that criminals are gearing up to execute a global bank heist in the coming days.


In a recent confidential alert FBI told international banks that criminals are plotting a concerted global malware attack on cash machines in the next few days.


The FBI issued a warning about a highly choreographed fraud scheme known as an ATM “jackpotting”, or ATM cash-out,” in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to take out millions in just a few minutes.


The alert said the agency had procured information indicating an attack was imminent and that it was likely an “unlimited operation,” which uses malware to exploit network access and get customers’ card information at a large scale.

Once the criminals get the card data, they create fraudulent copies using reusable magnetic strip cards (like gift cards) and hit the ATMs.


“Historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cyber security controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities,” reads the confidential alert, which was sent to banks last Friday.


“The FBI expects the ubiquity of this activity to continue or possibly increase in the near future.”


The alert urges banks to review their security systems and use two-factor authentication with a physical or digital token.


Other tips include monitoring and limiting administrator and business accounts with the authority to modify typical fraud controls like maximum withdrawal amounts and number of daily ATM transactions.

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