Fear as Man Hacks Wema Bank to Transfer N4m

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Reports of a young man claimed to be 19-year-old, but actually a 29-year-old, according to latest information, allegedly breaking into an account domiciled with Wema Bank Plc is creating panic among some customers of the financial institution. The reason for this fear is the safety of their deposits with the lender.

It was reported in the media that last Wednesday, one Nonso Okereke, was arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly hacking into a Wema Bank account in connivance with one 36-year-old Emeka Onumba to transfer N4 million.

The Prosecutor, Inspector Ingobo Emby, who brought the suspects before Magistrate A.O. Alogba, claimed that the duo committed the offences sometime in January at Wema Bank headquarters, located at 54, Marina Street, Lagos Island.

He informed the court that the defendants hacked into an account of Wema Bank, fraudulently transferred N4 million into various accounts, and later withdrew the money and shared, which the prosecutor said contravened Sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

When the charges were read to them, the suspects pleaded not guilty, while the magistrate granted them bail in the sum of N400,000 each with two sureties each in like sum who must have N500,000 in their bank accounts, with the case adjourned till July 18 for trial.

But as a result of the fear created by this report last week, Wema Bank has emphasised that its system was never hacked by the suspects, assuring customers that their deposits were safe.

“Wema Bank remains committed to protecting the funds of their customers and offering safe and secure banking services,” the financial institution said.

Explaining what happened, it was gathered after an investigation that the said sum was fraudulently withdrawn from the Wema Bank account of Maxwell Odoemenam without his consent by swapping the customer’s SIM card through the telecom company.

The SIM card swapped was due to failed controls on the part of the telecoms firm who did not carry out due diligence before allowing the SIM card swap. This is beyond the control of the bank, as they do not issue SIM card to customers, we learned.

The investigation further reveals that the customer had initially visited our Lawanson branch on 20/12/2018 to request for the balance in his account and when he was availed his account balance, he discovered that there was a shortfall of N20,100.00 in his balance. Further review of his statement of account revealed that the sum of N19,000 was transferred from his account via USSD platform into the account of one Amadi Promise in Union Bank, while the balance of N1,100 was used to purchase airtime recharge for his mobile line.

He however claimed that he did not register for USSD or any online platform with the bank thus, the transactions were fraudulent and not at his instance.

Upon interrogation of the customer, he explained that he had earlier visited Airtel Office to complain of network downtime on his phone number (08121730557), which he registered with the bank and he was notified by a staff of Airtel Office that someone had tampered with his SIM card, hence, he visited our Lawanson branch to request that his phone number be changed to another.

The staff of Lawanson branch (Wema Bank) who attended to the customer claimed that he advised the customer to allow the bank to place a debit restriction on his account to avert further fraud on it but that the customer did not agree with her but rather requested for a change of telephone number on the account because it is his business account and that he did not want any restriction on it so as not to disrupt his business.

Hence, restriction was not placed on his account but his profile was deactivated on the USSD platform. The customer however denied the assertion that he rejected the Officer’s advice on placing a restriction on his account.

Unknown to the customer, after the initial N20,100 transactions, the fraudster(s) had already enrolled the customer on ALAT platform using the customer’s telephone number and other BVN details. The telephone number was fraudulently swapped at the Telecommunication company which gave them access to the customer’s BVN details on NIBSS platform.

Upon the successful enrolment of the customer’s account on the ALAT platform, funds totalling N4,056,500.00 were fraudulently transferred to Adanna Mary Opara (N210,000.00), Okeke Favour (N100,000.00), Onumba Peter (N3,646,500.00) and Anyanwu Chinonyerem (N100,000) in Access, Union and GTBank, respectively.

The bank has refunded the customer with the lost funds and got the fraudsters arrested through the instrumentality of the Police to ensure substantive justice on the matter.

Onumba Peter, one of the fraudsters apprehended by the Police claimed that one Nonso Okereke introduced the fraud to him.

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