Lagos, Abuja, Rivers Hit Hardest as Fraudsters Swindle N18 Billion from Banks, PoS Operators

Lagos, Abuja, Rivers Hit Hardest as Fraudsters Swindle N18 Billion from Banks, PoS Operators

  • A recent report by the NIBSS has disclosed that Nigerian banks lost close to N18 billion to fraud in 2023
  • According to the report, customers in Lagos, Abuja, and Rivers accounted for the largest percentage of recorded losses
  • Web and PoS channels were the most exploited payment channels by fraudsters in the period in review

Legit.ng journalist Victor Enengedi has over a decade's experience covering Energy, MSMEs, Technology and the stock market.

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System has revealed that financial institutions suffered approximately N17.67 billion in losses due to fraud in 2023.

This was revealed in the NIBSS' Annual Fraud Landscape report (January to December 2023) published on its website.

Established in 1993, NIBSS facilitates same-day clearing and settlement of inter-bank transfers and payments.

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N18bn Bank Fraud
The report indicates that financial institutions experienced losses of approximately N17.67 billion due to fraud during the year. Photo credit - Money Market, CBN
Source: UGC

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Lagos, Abuja lead in losses

During the review period, a total of 80,658 individuals were reported to have been defrauded.

The highest percentage of defrauded individuals resided in Lagos (23%), followed by Rivers (6%), Abuja (5%), Ogun, and Oyo (5% each).

Lagos reported the highest values in terms of both fraud count and actual loss, accounting for 48% and 49%, respectively.

However, Lagos showed limited progress in combating financial fraud, with the number of recorded cases increasing from 45,952 in 2022 to 46,224 in 2023.

Despite this, there was a 12% reduction in the value of fraud losses, which decreased to N8.7 billion from N9.9 billion in the previous year.

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In Abuja, the fraud count saw only a slight reduction of 26 cases to 4,548, while the amount of money stolen increased significantly by 73.17%, to N994 million from N574 million in 2022.

Similarly, Rivers State experienced a decline in fraud count to 3,285 from 3,785, with the actual loss value decreasing to N433 million from N319 million.

Ogun State remained in the top 10 list for fraud count but saw a decrease from 3,410 to 2,867 cases, while Kaduna State's fraud count slightly decreased to 2,766 from 2,893.

Although most states in the top 10 list saw a decline, both Lagos and Kano States witnessed an increase in fraud count, with Kano's count rising from 1,888 to 2,168.

Regarding actual loss value, Cross River had the highest increase, surging by 2,202% to N1.04 billion from N45 million in 2022.

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Anambra State also saw a significant increase in the amount lost to fraud, rising from N257 million to N864 million.

Web, PoS most exploited for fraud

According to the report, the fraud count decreased by 6% to 95,620 in 2023. However, the actual loss from fraud increased by 23% compared to 2022.

The first quarter of 2023 had the highest fraud volume, while the fourth quarter had the highest fraud value.

In 2023, May had the highest fraud count at 11,716, followed by February with 9,492. October saw the highest actual loss at N3.7 billion, followed by January with N2.7 billion.

Data submitted to NIBSS via the Industry Fraud Reporting Portal revealed that the mobile channel remained the preferred means for fraud, increasing by 5% compared to the previous year.

Additionally, the Web and PoS channels were the most exploited payment channels by fraudsters in 2023.

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Although Point of Sale (PoS) machines have brought significant convenience to financial transactions in Nigeria, numerous individuals in the country have fallen prey to fraudulent activities.

Web fraud decreased by 38%, and ATM fraud recorded a 64% reduction from 2022 to 2023.

Amid rising fraud cases, the Central Bank of Nigeria has continued to direct banks to protect customers' funds and urged customers to educate themselves on the activities of fraudsters and scammers.

In compliance, some banks have taken steps to enlighten customers about how fraudsters target and access bank accounts.

Banks must prioritise protecting customers' accounts.

Reacting to the report, Adetobi Ogunlana, a financial analyst, told Legit.ng that banks must prioritise protecting customers' accounts from fraud to maintain trust and financial security.

He said:

"Implementing robust security measures, such as two-factor authentication and real-time transaction monitoring, is crucial.

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"Additionally, educating customers about common fraud tactics and promoting vigilance can help prevent unauthorized access.
"With the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, banks must continuously innovate and invest in cutting-edge technology to stay ahead of fraudsters."

He added that safeguarding customers' assets not only preserves the banks' financial well-being but also upholds the integrity of the banking system as a whole.

How to spot fake bank alerts

In related news, Legit.ng compiled a few valuable pointers on how to identify fraudulent money transfer alerts in the face of the growing dangers of cybercrimes.

These fraudulent schemes have resulted in financial losses for the victims and present a considerable obstacle to digital transactions.

These messages typically include the bank's logo, name, and other details, adding to their credibility.

Staying ahead of the game requires a combination of vigilance and scepticism to safeguard against the growing threat of sophisticated scams.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Victor Enengedi avatar

Victor Enengedi (Business HOD) Victor Enengedi is a trained journalist with over a decade of experience in both print and online media platforms. He holds a degree in History and Diplomatic Studies from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State. An AFP-certified journalist, he functions as the Head of the Business Desk at Legit. He has also worked as Head of Editorial Operations at Nairametrics. He can be reached via victor.enengedi@corp.legit.ng and +2348063274521.

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