EFCC Warns Nigerians Against Rising Threat of ATM Swap Fraud
In a recent statement released by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerians have been urged to exercise caution in light of a surge in ATM swap fraud incidents. The EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Dele Oyewale, revealed that the commission has been inundated with a multitude of complaints from the public concerning this alarming trend.
Investigations conducted by the EFCC have unveiled a nefarious modus operandi employed by fraudsters. These criminals discreetly swap a bank customer’s debit card with a similar one, exploiting the confusion of the victim at ATMs or Point of Sale (POS) terminals. The fraudulent act involves rapid card swapping, during which the fraudster memorizes the victim’s PIN without detection. The swapped card, usually rendered useless due to a deliberately wrong PIN, is then abandoned with the unsuspecting victim, who is advised to report the issue to the bank. Meanwhile, the fraudster seizes the opportunity to make immediate withdrawals from the victim’s account.
Oyewale emphasized that this deceitful practice is rapidly gaining momentum nationwide. As a countermeasure, the banking public is advised to adopt several precautionary measures to mitigate financial losses. These include keeping cards within sight or in a secure location after transactions, verifying card ownership, regularly scrutinizing bank statements for unfamiliar transactions, and setting up transaction alerts for account monitoring.
Additionally, the EFCC recommended covering the keypad when entering PINs, avoiding haste in making payments or withdrawals, and seeking assistance only from official bank personnel. In the event of a card becoming stuck in an ATM or any observed irregularity, individuals are urged to promptly contact their banks to block their ATM cards. The EFCC also provided a quick solution by dialing the USSD code *966*911# and following the instructions to instantly block an ATM card.
The commission assured the public that it remains unwavering in its commitment to safeguarding personal, corporate, and national finances. The EFCC’s determination is rooted in its overarching goal to eliminate all forms of economic and financial crimes, underscoring the importance of collective vigilance to curb the rising menace of ATM swap fraud.
Considering the aforementioned points, the following guidelines has been adised to be beneficial for the banking public to by the EFCC prevent further financial losses:
1. Safeguard your cards by keeping them in sight or in a secure location. After each payment, ensure that the returned card is indeed yours and not a similar-looking one.
2. Regularly scrutinize your bank statements to identify any unfamiliar transactions.
3. Enhance security by setting up transaction alerts, enabling you to monitor activities on your accounts or with your bank card.
4. When entering your PIN at POS terminals or ATM machines, cover the keypad with your hand or body for added security.
5. Avoid hastiness in making payments or withdrawals, and seek assistance exclusively from authorized bank officials.
6. Act swiftly by contacting your banks to block your ATM cards if they get stuck in ATM machines or upon detecting any irregularities.
7. Familiarize yourself with your bank’s ATM offline blocking code and promptly use it if your card is lost or stolen.
8. For an immediate response, dial the USSD code *966*911# and follow the on-screen instructions to instantly block your ATM card.
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