Nigeria takes steps to curb electronic banking fraud in the country.

Aug 5, 2015 Following the surge of online fraud involving Automated Teller Machines (ATM), email scams and identity theft as a result of the growing use of online banking in Nigeria, the government is taking drastic measures to curb this social menace.

According to the country’s Inter-Bank Settlements Systems, banks in Nigeria lost an estimated 159 billion naira to electronic fraud last year.

Ekene, a citizen who has had a firsthand bite of internet fraud, said:

“I was with my ATM card at home and I got alert that I made some cash withdrawals, and I didn’t do that. The next day I rushed to the bank and lodged a complaint, and I was made to know that somebody made use of the data on my ATM card, or something, to do online purchase,”

On the heels of that, the Nigerian government has come up with unique measures which will curb the losses to the bank as well as control the effect of these activities on the country’s reputation.

General Manager of the electronic-business department of First Bank of Nigeria, Chuma Ezirim, commented on the banking industry’s innovations  to deal with cyber-crime and breaches in cyber security, as they relate to banking operations and e-payment systems.

“We look at their profile and issue the right type of card. For example, in Nigeria, we have cards that even if you are able to harvest customers’ information, it might be difficult for you to use those details to do anything. We also make sure that for those very vulnerable channels, like the web, we demand for second level authentication so even if you are able to get my card details either through phishing or through scheming you won’t be able to use my details, except if you have a second level authentication factor,”

Amongst the strategies currently being put in place to combat online theft is the discontinuation of ATM cards that use the magnetic strip technology. This is as a result of the ease with which these kinds of cards can be cloned. These have been replaced with ATM cards using chip and pin technology which are considered safer, as customers’ details are encrypted and more difficult to obtain illegally.

According to the Chairman, Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum, Dipo Fatoku, the Nigerian government has also increased cooperation between security agencies, within and outside Nigeria; a synergy which he says will go a long way in controlling fraud.

“Fraudsters, especially on the electronic platform, could be said to be a global network. They operate everywhere and they have a very strong syndicate, so for you to combat the menace of these fraudsters, you also have to operate internationally and that is why our central bank co-operates with other organizations through the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria,” 

Also the country is increasing public awareness campaigns to educate people on the dangers of cyber-crime and also offer tips on how to safely engage in online transactions.

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