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Identify thieves inflict tears, losses on Nigerians

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Nigerian financial system has been jolted by a new wave of cyber threats targeting Nigerians, banks, e-commerce and other daily financial activities.

This is as the COVID-19 pandemic forced drastic changes in e-commerce and mobile banking ;creating along an entirely new target set for malicious actors to exploit weaknesses in remote corporate networks, merchant e-commerce sites and financial institutions dealing with massive increases in mobile banking transactions.

Identity fraud and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) scams are now so rampant that banks, switching companies, the police and users are having sleepless nights.

They are the works of organized crime groups who are leveraging specialist providers of cybercrime tools and services to conduct a wide range of crimes against financial institutions, including ransomware campaigns, distributed denial of service attacks, business email compromise scams and access mining

In simple term, identity theft otherwise known as identity fraud is the misappropriation of another person’s identifying information (birth date, address and maybe phone number , pin numbers and so on) for financial gains.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that using what is known as phishing, the criminals would send fraudulent SMS and email to victims directing them fake Web sites where they are asked to input sensitive data.

In the emails, the criminals had attachments that, when clicked, secretly install “spyware” that can capture personal information and send it to third parties over the Internet.

With the information supplied by victims, the criminals successfully break into the victims’ bank accounts leaving tales of woes and losses.

In other cases, they disguise themselves as bank representatives, and also use the palliatives from the government as bait to collect customers BVNs and other key banking details. Nigerian banks have implored customers to be vigilant.

They said that they have observed a worrying increase in reports of fraudsters targeting unsuspecting customers. Victor Etuokwu, executive director, Retail Banking, Access Bank Plc., said that “Access Bank is imploring its customers to be wary of any message, demanding their personal or bank details. Customers must remember that the Bank will never ask for their BVN, full card PAN, PIN, mobile app activation code, OTP or password as it is readily available to the Bank via its database.

“Any call, email and text message, claiming to be from Access Bank demanding for any of these details is certainly a scam,” he concluded.

A source at the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) said that the development was being monitored and that the Commission is inviting useful information that would help burst the ring.


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