Cyber criminals target bank account holders as Lagos, Enugu issue alerts

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By Oluwatobi Opusunju

Cyber criminals are on the prowl of unsuspecting Nigerian’s mobile phones users and account holders with Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), the unique numbers for all account holders in Nigeria.  The criminals lurk around unsuspecting victims, posing as bank officials and asking that customers confirm or verify their bank details, the information is then used to ‘clean out’ victim’s bank account.

In Lagos, authorities have nabbed about 12 of such cyber criminals while in Enugu, south east Nigeria, the state government has urged residents to guard their bank details jealously to avoid becoming victims of fraud syndicate in the state.

The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Edgar Imohimi who was speaking this week while parading the suspects before newsmen said the Command uncovered a 12 man gang made up of two groups that specialised in stealing mobile phones from which they generate users’ bank details and withdraw money from their bank accounts.

“On February 7, at 6pm, a woman reported to the police at Egbeda that her sister’s phone was stolen at a birthday party. When the victim went for SIM card replacement, as soon as she inserted her SIM into her phone, she received a bank alert of N1.15 million transferred from her account to other banks.”

“After investigation, a gang who specialised in dispossessing victims of their mobile phones with the use of motorcycle was apprehended. The gang is made up of two groups. One specialises in snatching the mobile phones and sell to the other group that work on the SIM cards to generate bank details and BVN to transfer money from the account.

“Ten laptops, one Infinix mobile phone and 10 SIM cards were recovered from the hoodlums,” Imohimi said.

Similarly, the Enugu State Command’s spokesman, SP Ebere Amaraizu, in a statement issued this week to NAN also advised residents to guard their bank details carefully, noting that” it has become necessary in view of intelligence report about the antics of mischief-makers, who tried to reap where they did not sow.”

Amaraizu said the command has started to unmask and arrest members of the syndicate in the state.

“The command wishes to advise members of the public to be wary of disclosing pin numbers of their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards as well as their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) to people.

“This will avoid unpleasant consequences of hoodlums wreaking havoc on their bank accounts,” said the spokesman.

He also advised residents of the state to be wary of those who ask to be assisted to withdraw money from ATM points with their ATM cards as such people might be mischief-makers.

“Such people only desire to cash in on such opportunity to get their victims’ ATM pin numbers and change their cards without them knowing and thereafter wreak havoc on their account,” Amaraizu said.


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