Researchers at the University of Ibadan have warned that pervasive electronic fraud in Nigerian banks are threatening widespread adoption of cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] by many Nigerians.
This is because bank staff, permanent and casual, as well as relatives of account holders such as wives, children and friends still tops the list of bank fraudsters.
“A man had received debit alert of N300, 000 on his account and rushed to his bank. He told the bank staff he had his ATM card with him when the alert came. When the CCTV footage of the person who withdrew the money was played, it was the image of his wife. He then went out of the bank. This is what we have called lovers fraud. We also have cases of sons defrauding their fathers, and bank account officers defrauding institutions where they are assigned to. There was one account officer in one of the new generation banks who collected about N90 million from an eatery as their account officer and ran away. He got married with part of the money and almost completed a four-bedroom flat when he was arrested by EFCC. They were able to recover less than N10 million cash from him.”
While addressing the press on their 2016 research findings funded by the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI), University of California, United States of America, Drs Oludayo Tade and Oluwatosin Adeniyi of the Department of Sociology and Economics University of Ibadan respectively, asserted that while the cashless policy was aimed at transparency, curb corruption/leakages and drive financial inclusion, the preponderance of fraud has created lack of trust for people to adopt cashless payment options.
The study entitled “Dimensions of Electronic Fraud and Governance of Trust in Nigeria’s Cashless Ecosystem” which was carried out in Oyo, Lagos and Ogun States among victims of fraud, identified different dimensions of bank fraud to include internal fraud exclusively committed by bank staff, external fraud and collaborative bank fraud involving bank staff releasing vital customer information to fraudsters.
According to Tade and Adeniyi, the current fraud strategies included ATM fraud, Dormant Account Fraud, Uncredited Lodgement, Fake Job Scam, Fund Transfer Fraud, Phishing Mails and BVN Fraud.
The researchers noted that bank customers experience fraud on a daily basis with little help provided by banks and governing institutions to recover their funds but rather they are blamed for compromising their accounts.
While calling for financial literacy education of bank customers based on their peculiar characteristics, the researchers warned that fraud will build distrust in Nigeria’s cashless ecosystem.
They warned account holders in banks to keep their ATM cards safe from their family members and not to click on any fraudulent email asking them to supply their bank details or strange callers asking them to supply their bank BVN, saying no bank will demand for such and banks will identify their customers by name.
While accusing banks of failing to perform oversight on their customers and supervision of their branches, the University of Ibadan researchers stated that “we discovered that due to their desire to reputational risk, banks do not want to externalise their fraud experiences. Banks expose their casual staff to occupy sensitive positions without adequate supervision. These poorly paid casual staff are also versed in ICT. There was a case where the bank staff gave the woman sweeping the office of a branch manager keylogger to insert on the managers computer to extract sensitive information. When the bank staff and their external collaborators hit the bank, they moved about N400 million away from the bank into about 5O different accounts and this happened on a public holiday.”