An agent of one of the top five commercial banks in Nigeria, simply known as Bimbo, has alerted her colleagues and the public on new tricks some individuals allegedly use to dupe banks’ agents.

Bimbo explained that she was duped of N120,000. She said an unknown customer had used her PoS outlet to withdraw N160,000, only for her account to be flagged by her bank days after for illegal transaction.

Bimbo disclosed her ordeal on the social media platform, Twitter, through her handle, @bimbo_cash. The customer approached her mobile banking outlet at Egbeda, Lagos, to withdraw N160,000, but due to delay in the transfer by the customer’s bank, he could only get N120,000.

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She explained that the guy transferred N100,000 to her outlet’s bank account, then transferred N20,000 in three phases from Sterling Bank account to complete the N160,000 he planned to withdraw from the mobile banking outlet. However, no alert was received from the last two N20,000 from Sterling Bank, so the customer was given N120,000, with a promise that he could come back for the balance once the alert had been received.

Dealing with an unperturbed fraudster

According to Bimbo, the customer had no problem with the suggestion. He willingly took the N120,000 and left without arguing about his balance. Bimbo didn’t know the customer was unbothered about the balance because he had stolen the bank and card details of someone.

[READ MORE: Fraud Cases hit major payment channels across Nigerian Banks]

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Bimbo said forty minutes after the customer had left, her outlet received the alert of the last two N20,000. The outlet called the unnamed customer several times but all attempts to reach him in order to offer him his balance were futile as his line was switched off.

Unknowingly to Bimbo, the customer had defrauded someone by using ber outlet. According to her, she informed the police about the balance, as she didn’t want to owe the customer. However, to Bimbo’s dismay, her account was flagged and restricted by her bank due to unauthorised transfer her outlet received.

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Transfer led to account restriction

The transfer and withdrawal occurred on October 19, 2019, while Bimbo discovered her account had been restricted and flagged on October 21, 2019. According to her Tweet, her bank informed her that the owner of the account that was duped didn’t authorise it.

Bimbo narrated that she was “advised to write a letter to the bank to deduct 160K from my account while crediting the person so the ban can be lifted.” She had to bear the loss by taking responsibility of the N160,000.

How the customer stole the card details

It was learnt that the details of the debit card were stolen when the account holder visited a roadside MTN outlet to upgrade her sim, as the customer (the fraudster) was one of the people at the MTN promo-stand by the roadside.

The account holder identified the customer when his picture was shown to her. Note that Bimbo’s mobile banking outlet usually takes pictures of customers who withdraw cash above N50,000.

Police and MTN are not helpful

After Bimbo reported the fraud to the police, she was informed that nothing could be done without the name or details of the customer. According to the police, his picture was not sufficient enough to be used as evidence.

Also, the guy can’t be tracked by MTN even if Bimbo requests for it. Only the lady, whose card details were stolen during the upgrade of her sim, can make such request.

What this means

This is one of the hazards of operating a mobile banking outlet. Better identification is needed if such a situation is to be prevented. As Nigerian banks begin to expand their services to underserved communities through agency or mobile banking, there’s need for the process of withdrawal at Point of Sale (POS) to be reviewed.

Also, the theft of debit card details during sim upgrade shows there’s a loophole in the system of telecommunication companies during sim registration or upgrade because the fraud Bimbo experienced started from the sim card outlet. At most roadside sim-stands, customers are often surrounded by individuals who are not contracted by the telcos. Unsuspecting users can fall victims in the process.

[READ ALSO: Banks refund N3.09 billion to customers over fraud, excess charges, others]

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Bimbo’s bank made her bear the cost of the fraud she was not involved in. One cannot but wonder why the bank allowed such to happen when she only carried out her business activity.

If the customer that withdrew at Bimbo’s outlet had gone to use the bank details to purchase goods elsewhere – either boutique or retail store, would any of these businesses be told to refund the account of the victim?

Also, if the fraudster had used the bank’s ATM to make the withdrawal, who would the bank place the blame on? Obviously, he chose the mobile banking agency in order to avoid the bank’s camera, not knowing his picture would be taken by the mobile banking outlet.

If anyone should take the fall in this fraudulent act, it shouldn’t be Bimbo; the ball should be in the court of her bank and MTN.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: fakoyejo.olalekan@nairametrics.com.

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