November 2, 2020

PoS fraud poses nightmares to bank customers

PoS fraud poses nightmares to bank customers

Image from Nairametrics

Image from Nairametrics

By Elizabeth Adegbesan

There are indications that bank customers will continue to face nightmares of losing money from fraud perpetrated by Point of Sale (PoS) agents with or without keeping their bank details safe.

Mrs Victoria Agbabiaka, a victim of PoS fraud who narrated her recent experience with fraudsters to Vanguard MoneyDigest said she did not divulge her bank details to the agent who duped her of N250,000 last month.

Her words, “I was travelling to Ebonyi State and decided to do PoS withdrawal from an agent in Marina, Lagos. I used my Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card to withdraw N6,000. Throughout the next day I started receiving debit alerts of sums ranging from N30,000 to N50,000. I called my husband if he was making any transactions from the account and he said no. I quickly remembered that I withdrew from a PoS agent in Lagos. ‘‘Luckily, I was with the printed slip. I called the Police and on getting to the agent stand in Lagos, the agent felled to the ground immediately he saw me. By then he had withdrawn N250,000 from my account. He returned my money and was arrested. Some of his victims were not lucky to get their money back.”

Commenting on the development, the National President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN), Olojo Victor, said that the system has been infiltrated by illegal PoS agents and the association is trying its best to fish out these bad eggs carrying out the menace.

He stated: “For us at AMMBAN we will continue to sensitize our members and fish out the bad ones and we ensure that where there is laxity we report to operators advising them to tidy up their platforms if we feel that the platforms can be compromised easily.”

Olojo noted that there have been complaints by customers who were defrauded at agents’ points and that most of the cases were on cardless withdrawals using pay codes.

A pay code is a 10 to14 digit code that can be used to withdraw cash from an ATM or make payments on a Paycode-enabled PoS terminal.

It is generated by using your bank’s Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code or Mobile App.

Olojo explained: “Well a number of factors are involved in PoS fraud with agents. First, it depends on what kind of withdrawal she did with the PoS agent. If she gave out her card details, card number, her CVC and all the necessary security details for the withdrawal, it is possible that the agent can make withdrawals from her bank account. If it was a card with Personal Identification Number (PIN) withdrawal, did she divulge her pin with the agent? It is very possible.’’

On previous occurrence of such incidence, he said: “Yes, we have had incidents where customers have complained but most times it is always a case of cardless withdrawal. There are also cases of people stealing SIM cards and using bank short codes to withdraw customers’ funds. That is possible.  Something must have been compromised by this customer for her to have lost N250,000.”

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He confirmed that there is the possibility for agents to have access to customers’ bank details in a situation of compromise.

“The possibility is just a case of compromise. It is either the customer has told the agent her personal PIN number or there is a compromise in terms of the details of the card. For instance, if a customer gives out to the agent those numbers written in the front of the card and the details at the back of the card, when a customer goes, the customer can do a transaction online using those details.

‘‘Maybe when the customer was doing the transaction, she didn’t pay attention so the agent was able to take the details of the card and do online transactions. It is very possible.

“We always advice customers not to divulge their bank details to anyone. When you carry out agent transactions ensure that you do not reveal your PIN to him. Do not drop your ATM card with him. Also ensure that your SIM card is not compromised because these days many SIM cards are tied to bank accounts. Fraudsters can easily load cards or make withdrawals from your bank account through SIM cards.”