- Nigerians have fallen victim to scammers who target them using online payment apps and have not had their money returned
- Online scammers, popularly called Yahoo boys have mastered methods of hacking or breaking into payment platforms to steal people's money
- Using tips like enabling face recognition, fingerprints, two-factor authentication on mobile phones can reduces the risk of falling prey to scammers
The activities of cyber criminals popularly called Yahoo boys have increased in Nigeria recently.
Their targets are not just high net worth persons who are based overseas but local people irrespective of status.
Many Nigerians are more likely to send money to friends and acquaintances using a payment on the smartphone than write a cheque these days.
Sending money via a payment platform is convenient and easy and for many, the method may reduce the hassles of having to enter the banking halls especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The major problem remains fraud perpetrated by criminals who have mastered sophisticated methods of scamming unwary people.
Experts say fraud rates among mobile payment apps are three to four times higher than traditional payment methods and are being exploited by scammers.
Main targets of scammers
The scammers target people of colour and low-income earners who are at higher risk than other consumer groups.
Mobile payment apps are very attractive to scammers, according to experts, since you generally don’t get the same fraud protection as they don’t get the same protection when using credit or debit cards.
The criminals can link a stolen card to a payment app platform to buy something, set up transactions and cancel them before they go through or send an email saying you paid more than necessary for an item and you need to send the money back. Money transfers happen very fast through a payment app that makes it hard to trace or detect scam payments.
The good news about mobile payment is that it is instant but the problem is that is very hard to get your money back. You have to be sure of the person you are sending it to.
The kind of online payment method you use may also have an effect n whether you are more or less likely to lose money if you are scammed.
Here comes the tips
No matter which mobile payment app you choose, experts recommend these five tips to avoid being scammed:
- Transfer money only to people you know and make sure you have the correct phone number or email for that person when making the transfer.
- Enable security features like multi-factor authentication on the app and your smartphone that may require a PIN, fingerprint or face recognition.
- Keep your smartphone secure with a strong password, biometric features like fingerprint or two-factor authentication.
- Don’t link your mobile payment app to your bank account or debit card.
- And always check that the money transfer has been completed.
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Top payment platforms in Nigeria
Legit.ng has reported that the Nigerian financial industry landscape is laced with interesting options, most of which give users the ability to make a choice that allows them optimal use.
While some banks in Nigeria are paying higher interest to depositors for saving money with them, others are just there to make profits and post interesting figures at the end of their financial year.
The minimum interest rate approved by a regulatory agency like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is 1.5 per cent.