By Osmond Ugwuanyi
The financial inclusion drive of the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) and the desire for deposit mobilization by banks and other financial institutions has resulted in a surge in the number of bank account owners in Nigeria.
This development has also caused fraudsters, popularly referred to as yahoo yahoo boys to shift their target to bank account holders.
Many of us must have received calls and/or a messages from strangers purporting to be a staff of one of the banks asking us to confirm some details regarding our account with their ‘bank’. From experience more 90% of such calls are usually from fraudsters with the sole intent of stealing the victims account details and using the stolen details to withdraw from their account thereafter.
While some by virtue of exposure or experience usually by merely asking some probing questions quickly identifies these fraudsters for who they are, many on the other hand are falling victim to these thieves on a daily basis. The victims cuts across all strata of the society including the rich, poor, educated, uneducated, city dwellers , rural dwellers etc.
To me this menace has become a burden as hardly do a week pass without my getting to hear of a successful or near successful fraud attempt, hence the urgent need for awareness and continued sensitization of members of the public on this invisible evil lurking around us.
One feels like crying seeing a struggling gateman, cobbler , mai ruwa , truck pusher , sales girl/boy, labourer, akara woman , waiter/waitress, mechanic, cleaner, trader , civil servant etc being defrauded of the meager amount they sacrificed so much to save by these good for nothing yahoo boys.
The scenario are usually the same, someone calls speaking in a well-polished voice and claims to be a staff of XYZ bank. He calls the victim’s name and sometimes his account number and goes ahead to request for some more information usually the number at the front and back of the ATM etc. Once the victim divulge these information minutes later debit alert will start flowing.
Just this morning a sales girl I know very well who incidentally is the breadwinner of her family was defrauded of N25,000.00 she was planning to use to pay the children’s school fee next week upon school resumption. She called crying and the trend followed exactly what has been explained in the preceding paragraph. The fraudster claimed to be a staff of one of the commercial banks; informed her that her account has been blocked and requested some details to enable them unblock her account. She obliged and minutes later N25,000 being the balance on her account was wiped out.
Tales similar to her own is a daily occurrence and most of the victims just endure as they don’t know where to go next. Even those that lodge complaints hardly get a refund as they were the ones that gave out the information used in defrauding them.
The banks on their part frequently warn their customers not to disclose their account details to anyone, but its seems this awareness are not sinking. In addition to what the banks are doing it is advised that you the reader of this write up make effort to create awareness to vulnerable persons or groups; on the need for them not to ever reveal their account details to any stranger claiming to be a bank staff, no matter how sweet or well spoken the caller may sound. As the saying goes ‘na them’….
If you are in doubt physically go to the bank, call your account officer or call your banks customer care line before you take any action.
When you have the opportunity kindly take 5 to 10 minutes to bring this menace to the awareness of majority especially in the worship places, estate meetings/ village/towns meetings, work place, clubs/societies etc. Don’t assume that most people know as even highly experienced, exposed and educated persons are also falling prey to these fraudsters.
To the fraudsters you are advised to turn a new leaf and turn your ingenuity into a positive use. Remember the saying every day for the thief…
To the rest of us I advise you wise up and be on the guard; no matter how small you may think is in your account, please safeguard it jealously by not disclosing your details carelessly.
Assist to ensure this message goes viral by sharing it in all platforms and social media handles for maximum awareness of this scourge.
©️Osmond Ike Ugwuanyi
16th January 2021