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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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Court Jails Union Bank Head of Ops over N450m Fraud



Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc

Mr Paul Onwughalu, former Head of Operations at the Head Office of Union Bank Plc in Marina, Lagos, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for his involvement in fraud to the tune of N450 million.


Mr Onwughalu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in February 2014 before Justice S.S. Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja on a four-count charge bordering on failure to conduct due diligence in financial transactions.


Ruling on the matter in March 2018, Justice Ogunsanya found the accused guilty of the offence and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count.

One of the counts read, “That you, Paul Onwughalu, on or about the 9th of January, 2013, at Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division, whilst being an employee of Union Bank Plc, failed to exercise due diligence in relation to the conduct of financial transactions with one DanKawu Bureau De Change by confirming and authorizing payment of the sum of N450 million fraudulently transferred by hacking into Union Bank database (flexcube) and transferring the said sum to Union Bank Plc account of one DanKawu Bureau De Change domiciled in Union Bank, Head Office Branch, Marina, Lagos and thereby facilitated the crediting and withdrawal of the said sum by one DanKawu Bureau De Change to various accounts in Ecobank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa and Dankawu Bureau De Change.”


The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him, thereby setting the stage for his full trial.


In the course of the trial, the prosecution counsel, Fadeke Giwa, presented a number of witnesses and tendered various documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.


However, counsel to the convict, O. Fagbemi, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.




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African Development Bank Delivers Strong Operational Results



The African Development Bank is delivering on its goals and making good progress towards achieving its development and operational targets according to the 2018 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) (link is external), which was released at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Every year, ADER scrutinizes the Bank’s operational effectiveness and its organizational efficiency, using the Bank’s results measurement framework for 2016-2025. It brings together evidence of strengths and weaknesses to provide management with a clear understanding of what has worked well and what the Bank must do better to achieve its High 5 development goals.

“The report shows that the African Development Bank is delivering on its commitment to help Africa achieve the Bank’s High 5 priorities,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President. “The Bank continues to strengthen its effectiveness as an organization, while scaling up its operations.”

This year’s ADER has a special focus on industrializing Africa. “There are good reasons to be optimistic that industrialization is achievable in the coming years. Africa is open for business, with stable economies and supportive business environments,” said Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina. “It has a young and growing workforce that is increasingly global in outlook. Urbanization and the rise of the African middle class are opening up new consumer markets, which act as a magnet for investors.”

In 2017, companies had improved access to transport, energy, and skills, which expanded their ability to do business across the continent. The Bank contributed to these improvement: it provided 14 million people with access to transport – well above its target – while building or rehabilitating 2,500 km of roads in 2017 and also helped 210,000 small and micro businesses access finance, which benefitted 2.6 million people.

“This level of performance is promising, but we must continue driving operational delivery and impact,” said Simon Mizrahi, Bank Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results.

The Bank is scaling up its efforts to accelerate the pace of industrialization, supported by its presence in 38 countries and by timely and quality operations. This backbone and experience position the Bank well to mobilize more resources from institutional investors around the world for industrial development.

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EMVCo Creates Royalty-free Mark to Promote Use of QR codes



EMVCo, the global technical body that manages EMV specifications, has introduced a QR payment trademark designed to promote the global interoperability and use of EMV QR code payments.

EMVCo has released reproduction requirements for the mark and a licensing structure that allows any organization that uses an EMV QR code solution to also use the mark at no cost, a press release said.

According to EMVCo, QR codes are increasingly being used to facilitate mobile payments at the point of sale. Last year, the organization published specifications to address two QR code payment use-cases:

–  Consumer-presented — consumers display the QR code on their mobile device and the merchant uses an optical scanner to read the code.

–  Merchant-presented — the merchant displays the QR code and consumers use their mobile device to scan the code.

The QR payment mark can be used to inform consumers that a merchant accepts these types of payment solutions.

The QR payment mark can also be used as an application indicator on a consumer mobile device when initiating a consumer-presented transaction.

A royalty-free trademark license agreement and reproduction requirements are available in EMVCo’s Trademark Centre.

“The development of a uniform, recognizable QR payment mark that can be used on a royalty-free basis is an important step towards providing a universally consistent experience for both merchants and consumers,” EMVCo executive Committee Chair Jack Pan said in the release.

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