Online banking fraud on the rise

Customers have expressed dissatisfaction in the manner in which some banks have been handling reported scam cases on internet banking and Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

Tochukwu Onyiuke, a lawyer at Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, said of the over 1,000 internet banking scam and ATM con cases his firm is handling, “none of the banks involved has shown authentic interest in rendering assistance to the victims.”

Mr. Onyiuke said many of these victims are customers of Intercontinental Bank, Bank PHB, and Union Bank.

Moses Adeogun, a postgraduate student in a university in the United Kingdom and an Intercontinental customer, recently narrated how he lost all his savings of N429, 000 in the bank to online scam.

Experts say the perpetrator must have had access to Mr. Adeogun’s username, password and transaction code -the three details needed in internet banking -before money could be successfully transferred from his account.

Meanwhile, the victim said he never disclosed any of that information to anyone as “all these information are only known by me and the internet banking office.”

Findings exposed that the Olufunmi Olusanya’s account belongs to a female youth corps member. A transaction was made from Mr. Adeogun’s account to hers and she later withdrew the money through an ATM.

However, Mr. Onyiuke said how scammers managed to get into people’s accounts through internet banking is a question banks should answer since the position of law says “banks have a mandatory duty to protect customer’s fund.”

The legal practitioner said banks are to protect their customers’ money by ensuring that there is no handling on customers’ account or unauthorized withdrawal. “In the event that customer losses money, or occasions that the bank fails to protect the fund, the customer can bring a legal action of a breach of contract against the bank,” he said.

“Banks in Nigeria are fond of pushing blames to the customers even before investigating. Banks always claim that the customers compromised their passwords. But most times, we have discovered through investigations, that the claims were false,” said Mr. Onyiuke

Contacted over Mr Adeogun’s allegation, after several phone calls and electronic mails to the Intercontinental Bank went unreturned, Bridget Chinasa, a receptionist at the bank front office who tried to cover her name tag, said a reporter cannot speak to any official in the bank’s Corporate Communication office since no appointment was made. “Just keep trying the office number to book an appointment,” Ms. Chinasa said.

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