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Banks, payment systems loss N9.5bn to fraud

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By Usman Oladimeji

January 2023 had the highest real loss value of N2.7 billion.

As Nigerians are rapidly adopting digital advancement, cyber risk remains a concerning issue. Musa Jimoh, director of payment systems management at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said Electronic Fraud (E-Fraud) has cost the country’s banking industry and payment systems network a total of N9.5 billion so far in 2023. At the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) Q3 2023 general meeting in Lagos, where stakeholders gathered to discuss “New Strategies for Combating E-Fraud in a Cashless Environment,” Jimoh urged for greater cooperation between the various players in the payment systems ecosystem to end E-Fraud.

Jimoh, who is also the Chairman of NeFF, stressed the need to develop more efficient methods to secure the banking and payment systems, while also educating citizens on how to protect essential bank information and payment details from cyber criminals. He added that the more we know about what they are up to, the safer we will be. The end goal is a fraud-free system, but achieving that is a gradual step as the scammers are also finding innovative ways to carry out their illegal acts. As more people enter the financial sector, there is an increase in both transactions and vulnerability.

Rise in transactions has led to a notable surge in fraud.

However, with increased awareness by banker’s committees and other stakeholders, many Nigerians would be educated of the fact that they must keep all banking information highly confidential. Subsequently, we may expect the number of fraud cases to gradually decrease to zero, he said. Premier Oiwoh, managing director of Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), elaborated on the 2023 E-fraud statistics, saying that January 2023 had the industry’s highest real loss value of N2.7 billion and June 2023 saw its lowest value of over N800 million.

In the last 6 months, May 2023 saw the most fraudulent records with 11,716, while June 2023 saw the least fraudulent records with 6,240. Oiwoh, who was represented by Temidayo Adekanye, Chief Risk Officer, NIBBS, said the value of transactions recorded is increasing as a result of the CBN recent cashless policy. Meanwhile, the rise has also led to a notable surge in fraud all across the sector. First quarter 2023 industry forum portal fraud reports totaled N5.1 billion.

Average rate of recovery is around 5 percent.

While fraud losses in 2019 were N3 billion, by 2023 the figure had risen to almost N9.5 billion. This shows a worrying upward trend in fraudulent activity over the past five years. He added that scammers have recently discovered a means to divert cash via betting platforms and wallet accounts, making recovery of such funds extremely difficult owing to inadequate identifications. Currently, the average rate of recovery is around 5%. Also, the CBN Director, accompanied by the Managing Director Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, and other stakeholders announced the launch of the NeFF official website to facilitate cooperation and the sharing of relevant data in the fight against electronic fraud.

According to Onyeali-Ikpe, our reliance on digital transactions has expanded dramatically as technology continues to improve at a remarkable pace. E-fraud, on the other hand, has become a major problem for consumers, businesses, and the whole sector because of the proliferation of digital transactions. She stressed the importance of taking prompt and strong action against E-fraud in the financial sector, claiming that the trend has already begun to erode customers’ trust in the financial system. Data from NiBBS shows that the number of electronic payments transactions in Nigeria surged by 298 percent Year-on-Year.

Quarter one of 2023 banking losses were N5 billion.

The banking industry lost N14.3 billion to E-fraud in 2022, which was an increase from the N12.7 billion lost the year before. Q1 2023 banking losses were N5 billion. The worrying fact is that if the trends persist, it could reach N20 billion by the end of 2023. From banking and finance to e-commerce and beyond, e-fraud has invaded many sectors. By using sophisticated techniques to find and exploit vulnerabilities, these online criminals are able to get unauthorized access to sensitive information and financial resources. Not only may a company lose funds to e-fraud, but its reputation and credibility can also be affected.

Related Link

NeFF: Website

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