Mr. Damian Okoro, commissioner of Police, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, has warned the public about the rising wave of electronic fraud known as ‘alert flashing’, otherwise, ‘fake bank alert’.
The fraud which has become a major source of concern to bank customers, involves the use of SMS messages disguised as a transaction alert from a bank, to defraud unsuspecting victims.
Okoro, narrated how a bank customer fell victims to a fake bank alert.
He said: “Please this is a true story which happened just few days ago. My friend advertised for sale a car and put the price at N2.7 million. A prospective customer called and was given direction on how to get where the car was parked. He observed the car and informed my friend that he was heading to the bank to make payment and that she should assemble the document ready for collection as soon as payment is made. Zenith Bank launches POS payments without cards
“Shortly after that alert came to my friend’s phone and few minutes after the alert the customer came and all the paper plus the car was handed over to him and he left. To my friend’s greatest shock, she went to the bank and couldn’t find any money and the bank said that the alert did not come from them.
“My friend is planning to go to court with her bank. The advice is that alert is no longer a confirmation of payment. Please let’s all be careful when doing transactions especially this season now in this technology crazy generation”.
Speaking on the development, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, president, Bank Customer Association of Nigeria (BCAN), said: “If the fake bank alert is not traceable that is a different thing but if it is somebody that is traceable then we will get him to say where he made the payment and how he made the payment. Then he will either be vindicated or convicted.
“The menace does not affect banks but it affects the confidence of the people in doing e-payment transaction. So it puts a question mark on how you can trust that somebody actually has made the payment to you except you will call your bank or go back to cross check first before you now release whatever value you want to release.
“Unlike before when somebody makes a payment if there is an alert you assume that it is genuine, but with what is going on now, it is not going to be comforting to anybody to just make the assumption, oh I got an alert, and therefore, it is okay. How to checkmate the attack
‘‘What you then do is to go to the next level, call your account manager for him or her to confirm indeed that payment was made into your account before you can release goods.
‘‘If you don’t have an account officer, at least you should have a number with the bank that you can call maybe that of the manager or the operations officer or the customer service.