Nothing on the surface suggests a bait, as it’s meant to hook the innocent and unsuspecting public. Most times, they come in form of notifications, informing the recipient of developments in the organisation, (in most cases banks) and the need for such recipient to update his details through a link provided by the sender. In some cases, there is even a threat of sanction if the recipient decides to ignore the message. But, signing on to such mails can spell doom for the recipient since they are scam mails, meant to compromise the recipient’s data.
Welcome to the cyber world, where cyber fraud, cyber scam or phishing scam, is gradually becoming the order of the day. Curiously, nothing today brings the reality of the vulnerability of the nation’s financial institutions to the fore than the litany of cyber scams tales being told by many Nigerians, especially the banking public.
Tagged phishing scam, the issue of scam in the nation’s cyber space is fast assuming a dangerous dimension, especially among critical holders in sensitive sectors of the nation’s economy.
When Saturday Tribune sought to know the views of critical stakeholders in the nation’s banking sector on the issue, the tales were not short in coming. While some had fallen victim and had lost quite a fortune to the scam, others were able to escape by the whiskers, and as a result lived to fight another day.
Narrating his ordeal to Saturday Tribune recently, Mr. Akinluyi Temidayo, a customer of one of the nation’s first generation banks, also had a similar tale to tell. He had mistakenly made a double payment for a transaction he did with a foreign company and had asked for a refund, a request the foreign company agreed to.
“Few days later, I got a credit alert on my account and was almost opening the mail before I decided to subject the mail to further scrutiny. At the end of the day, I discovered it was a scam. There was nothing like a payment into my account, not to talk of the payment coming from that company that was owing me.
“My refund was done one month later and it was very funny. I nearly fell because they have devised different means of fleecing the unsuspecting public. But my curiosity was how they got information that I was expecting a payment and just cashed in on that. Could it be a mere coincidence?” he asked.
With these deluge of not too inspiring cyber scam tales oozing out of stakeholders in the nation’s financial sector, not a few believe the need for customers’ enlightenment has become very imperative.
According to Mayowa Olaoluwa, a finance expert, the implications of having a financial sector bugged down by cyber scams are far-reaching; since it has a way of rubbing off negatively on the entire financial space.
“Banking thrives on trust. As a customer, if you are conned once or twice, it erodes your confidence in the banking sector. You begin to look for alternatives to regular banking and if everybody begins to look for such alternatives, that means the industry is in trouble,” he said.
Giving some tips on how the war on cyber scams can be won in the industry, the finance expert stressed the need for recipients of such mails to always exercise caution while opening such mails.
“When you receive such mail, move your cursor to the mail, place the cursor on the mail, you will see the original sender of the mail. So, if it is different from the name of the sender on the message, it is definitely a scam mail,” he explained.
He also advised Nigerians on the need to eschew greed and the penchant to cut corners.
“It is obvious that some Nigerians fall victims to such mails because they want to reap from where they never sowed. For instance, why would you want to open a credit alert mail coming from a bank that you know you do not have any account with? Why would you want to open a mail tagged ‘Business Proposal’, when it is obvious you are not discussing such subject with anybody? People respond to mails, such as these due to ignorance and most times greed. The best way out is to delete immediately you get such glaringly-deceptive mails,” he stated.
Another way of dealing with scam messages is by scrutinizing the mail itself and look for tell-tale signs.
“Most times when you look closely at the mail, you will notice some flaws in the language used, even the corporate identity might give such mails away,” stated Andrew Soetan.
Giving a personal example, Soetan, a computer engineer, explained that he had once received a fraudulent mail from a supposed first generation bank, only to discover that the logo in the mail was slightly different from the newly-launched logo of the bank.
“While the picture of the elephant on the scam mail was a full elephant, the original logo carries just the head of the elephant. That was what gave the mail away,” he stated.
Soetan further advised the banking public never to fill any sensitive information, especially their banking details on their handsets, laptops and other devices.
“When you receive such mails asking you to fill in your banking details online, what you should do is to visit the nearest branch of the bank to you and do the filling. The advantage of doing this is that when you get there, you will know whether the mail actually came from the bank or not,” he stated.
Interestingly, not a few have called on the nation’s financial institutions to enlighten and engage the banking public on the topic, while also giving them tips on how to detect such scam mails and nip them in the bud.
A banker, who would not want his name in print, believes that banks should commit more energy, time and efforts on this subject, since the implications of incessant cases of cyber crime are grave for the nation’s economy.
“The way it is now, it is obvious that most of these banks are not giving the issue the utmost attention it deserves. But I think if the trust in the nation’s banking system is to be enhanced, there is the need for all hands to be on deck, especially the critical stakeholders in the industry,” he stated.