The simplification of banking services by technology has brought with it some hazards, including online frauds, OZIOMA UBABUKOH writes on the increasing rate of tampering with customers’ funds by bank employees.
Cases of internal online fraud committed by bank employees have been on the rise lately, The PUNCH has learnt.
Our correspondent gathered that porous data system, coupled with dwindling remuneration in some of the banks, might have been encouraging bankers to tamper with customers’ funds.
Analysts are of the view that the quest to live fantasy lifestyles might have led some of the bankers to engage in such an illicit act.
An employee of a new generation bank said many of his former colleagues were sacked within the last two years due to discreet online manipulation of customers’ funds.
“Some had to resign when the lid on their deals was blown off,” the source, who pleaded not to be named, said.
“The most common cases are those that have to do with bankers tampering with the accounts of deceased customers and transferring the funds into their personal accounts within the same bank, or some other banks,” the source added.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had last month said there was a need to collaborate with various industry stakeholders to ensure that banks and other players in the financial services sector had maximum information security.
The CBN, through its Chief Information Security Officer, Taiwo Longe, had said that information security involved the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data, regardless of the form the data might take; whether electronic or print.
He said, “Financial institutions, hospitals, telecommunications corporations and private businesses, amass a great deal of confidential information about their customers, employees, products, research findings and financial status, among others.
“As such, there is a need for maximum security of this information that is collected, processed and stored on computers and transmitted across computer networks.
“When the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data is impacted, security is said to have been breached. There are various threats to information security. Some are very dangerous and disruptive; others are just a nuisance.”
Responding to the issue of online banking fraud, the Bankers’ Committee, through the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said, “Online frauds in the banks are connected to biometrics. All frauds will end up in some accounts; so, if you have details of the person that post that account, that is the biometric details, no two individuals can have the same details, it will be easy to basically track or determine the culprit within the overall system.
“Remember that the industry is going to be sharing this platform. Therefore, once you know where that person is across the entire industry, we will all know that the person is a fraudster and he cannot change his name. The day you register, that is your name forever. If you come back with a thumbprint, and you try to change your name, the system will determine what you are about to do.”
“The second level is that the Bankers’ Committee is also looking at ways to determine what the appropriate levels of online transfers can be. The whole idea is to mitigate the issue of people transferring money and huge fraud. By reducing the amount, for instance, the incidence and the value of what that fraud can possibly be can be reduced.”
An industry analyst, Eseoghene Idolor, told our correspondent that poor internal control and checks by the banks usually created loopholes for their employees to commit fraud.
“Therefore, to reduce or eliminate fraud, there is a need to always have effective audit, security and surveillance systems during and after bank official operating hours,” he said.
The immediate past Chairman, Committee of e-Banking Heads, Mr. Chuks Iku, however, differed, saying, “It is very difficult to tamper with the accounts of customers in a bank because of the internal processes.”
According to him, closing an account or tampering with someone else’s money is not that easy, adding, “I do not agree that customers’ funds can be tampered with.
“If someone wants to commit fraud in the bank, it is difficult to stop, but such fraud will definitely be found out,” he added.
The Head, Brand and Media, eTranzact, Mr. Adeyemi Opene, encouraged customers to embrace mobile banking, “as there is minimal fraud in the process and it will help to avoid the bankers’ undue access to customers’ funds.”
“We didn’t pioneer online transactions, but we have really worked so hard to ensure that mobile transactions are seamless and secure,” he added.
Opene argued that for every transaction through mobile banking, there was a two-level authentication that made it very difficult for fraud to be perpetuated.
“We pioneered the Electronic Security Authentication; so, there is no way fraud can occur through the mobile money process, except when one reveals one’s card details,” he added.