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Banking fraud attempts hit 1,544 in six months


Legal practice

Legal practice

NeFF enlists support of judiciary to enforce cyber law 

INDICATIONS have emerged that electronic fraud attempts in banking industry in the first half of the year reached 1,544, with value in excess of N1 billion.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Jaiz Bank, Mohammad Nurul Islam, while presenting a topic: “Role of Financial Institutions in Preventing Cybercrime Misdemeanor”, at the August meeting of the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF), cited the report of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), noted that the major challenge in the fight against cybercrimes is the lack of legislation.

This lack of recourse for consumers encourages the perpetration of cybercrimes for financial gains. Security and privacy concerns are also contributive factor, especially for the less aware customers of banks. “In the first half of year 2015, analysis from NIBSS revealed that 1,544 fraud cases were reported with an attempted value of N1.34 billion and actual loss value of N654.4 million.

Specifically, looking at electronic frauds (ATM, e-commerce, Internet banking, Mobile, POS and Web), a total of N926 million was attempted,” he said.

He pointed out that to encourage widespread use and acceptance of electronic channels, the perceived and actual levels of confidence must be high, while security should not be compromised.

But the Chairman of the NeFF and Director of Banking and Payments System Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), ‘Dipo Fatokun, at the event, said NeFF is now enlisting the support of the Judiciary in its fight against all banking related frauds in the country, especially with the coming of Cybercrimes Act 2015.

Already, the group has secured the regulator’s approval to visit the Chief justice of the Federation in a move to strengthen and consolidate the relationship with the Judiciary.

The move, according to him, would also set the tone for a planned training to strengthen capacity, especially as fight against electronic fraud (e-fraud) has always created the need for the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to corporate with financial system regulators.

Fatokun, who noted that e-fraud losses are decreasing with increased monitoring of the incidences, however, admitted that the challenges facing the electronic payments system are more real than imagined. “NeFF has responded to the challenges of the time, making the country increasingly difficult for cyber criminals to thrive.

We cannot postpone a lot of issues that confront us especially the security of our payment system and that is why we meet regularly to review our progress,” he said.

The Federal Government, had in May 2015, signed into law the Cyber crime Act, which provides an effective, unified and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in the country.

Other provisions of the Act include the manipulation of Automated Teller Machine/Point of Sale Terminals, phishing, spamming, spreading of computer virus and electronic cards’ related fraud, prescribing various prison terms and/or penalties for offenders.

But Islam noted that over the past decade, the cybercrime landscape has changed drastically, with criminals employing more sophisticated technology and skills around the world.

According to him, the deployment of technology like ATM, POS, mobile/Internet and agency banking as a means to drive innovation and deepen financial inclusion has increased the number of offerings and channels available to the customers, but hacked into by fraudsters.

He however, applauded government’s legislation against cybercrimes and expressed optimism that assessed inadequacy before now, would be remedied by the provisions of the Act.

He also warned that the law and enforcement are not panacea to the risks landscape because cybercrime is not going to disappear as it is a part of a border crime landscape and the consumers are very dependent upon it.

However, Fatokun noted that with the diversity associated with Information Technology and the ever increasing need for speed in communication, it has become necessary to remodel NeFF’s online presence in line with current realities. “Today, Nigeria has 80 million people using the Internet and the rate is growing faster than most other countries including United Kingdom.

The forum is considering having a robust independent website, which will assist in dissemination of information to cyber participants, using all social media platforms to engage continuously with the public and ramp up awareness on etiquettes needed to interact safely on the on the e-device.” “It is laudable that we now have legal backing in the fight against cyber fraud.

The act is actually a force that would take us further in the course, in the sense that many things that were not criminalized are now serious offense.

If people are aware of this, it could even become a deterrent on activities that would deny them of their freedom and possibly send them to jail or fine,” he added.

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