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Sterling Bank, Customer Quarrel Over N2.9m Fraud

**EFCC Wades in

By Dipo Olowookere

A fraud to the tune of N2.9 million is already causing a disagreement between Sterling Bank and one of its customers.

While the bank is accusing the customer, Providence Heights Secondary School Staff Welfare Association, of being careless with its account details, the bank account holder claims the financial institution should be held responsible for its ‘missing’ money.

Already, the customer has run to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for assistance and we learnt the agency is looking into the matter with a view to solving the disagreement and bring those involved in the alleged fraud to book.

The customer alleged that officials of Sterling Bank removed N1.2 million from its account domiciled with the bank’s branch on Iju Road, Iju, in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State on July 6, 2018, which it said was reported to the lender.

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It was further said another illegal transaction occurred on the account, but this time, the sum of N1.7 million was moved on November 1, 2018.

But Sterling Bank, which reacted to this issue in a statement to The Witness through its spokesman, Mr Adeola Adejokun, said, “Sterling Bank is not in a fix over the fraudulent transaction referenced. It was investigated with the outcome indicating that confidentiality and security of financial information tied to the association’s accounts were compromised by its executives.

“We take the protection of the financial information of our customers seriously by always updating policies and procedures to stay ahead of new strategies used by fraudsters.

“The bank also understands that customers have a role to play in keeping their financial information safe out of the reach of fraudsters, and are consistently educating them to protect their identity, smartphones, accounts, avoid suspicious emails, text or phone calls.

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“The ex-chairman of the welfare account reported a case of N1.2 million after his phone was stolen and fraudulent transactions done through USSD, Flutterwave and mobile app on the 6th of July 2018.

“He, however, reported to the bank on 9th of July 2018 after the fraud had happened. We were able to salvage the sum of N500,000.00 and deactivated the account across our e-channel platforms.

“Immediately the issue was reported, we contacted the respective banks where the funds were transferred if we could still salvage the funds. We were able to salvage the sum of N500,000.00 and this had been credited to the customer’s account and was acknowledged by the customer.

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“The custodian of the account (ex-chairman of the welfare account) failed to report incidence of stolen phone to the bank immediately it happened which would have ensured the deactivation of his account across all our e-channel platforms and ultimately prevent the fraud.

“The account was linked to one of the signatories’ personal account after his account had been profiled on Sterling Mobile platform using his registered mobile line and personal debit card details (PAN, CVV, expiry date & PIN). The customer’s account was debited with the sum of N1,746,000.00 and funds transferred to two banks and also used for virtual top-up. We contacted the beneficiary banks with the sum of N129,000 salvaged. “The association’s executive who had his personal account profiled on Sterling Mobile and linked to the welfare account, confirmed that he was called by someone who claimed to be from the bank and in the process, divulged his card details – PAN, CVV, expiry date and PIN to this supposed staff. The divulged card details were subsequently used for the fraudulent transactions.”

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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