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By ELFREDA KEVIN-ALERECHI
Fraudsters, with an eye on the wallets of unsuspecting members of the public, have lately upped their strategises on moves to swindle unsuspecting members of the public of their money. One of the new methods deployed is by sending credit alert messages to people.
This duplicitous scheme has reached a new high with the emergence of covid-19 as scammers now devise ingenious plots of amplifying falsehood to swindle unsuspecting victims, as Dubawa has repeatedly debunked.
At the peak of the covid-19 lockdown, a crisis grant was said to have been given by the Federal Government of Nigeria by the prominent Nigerian Business man, Aliko Dangote, but these all turned out to be false. What is alarming, however, is that some scammers generate bank credit alerts that they disguise to be from the bank, many of which for some Nigerians fall for.
Although the Nigeria Police has constantly arrested and paraded several fake bank alert scammers, who use the alerts as evidence of online payment for transactions to defraud victims, the scam still persists.
Explained below are four ways to detect fake bank alerts:
4 ways to spot that the credit alert you received is not from the bank
1. If the message is sent with a personal number, the likelihood, if not certainty, is that it is not from your bank. All banks use their official numbers and customised numbers to reach their customers. For instance, this number 09064721039 was used to text a bank customer that the person’s bank account has been credited with N45,000.00. This was not any of the bank official numbers in Nigeria; rather it was a personal number. These personal numbers 09061354611 and 09037321149 were used as well to text another customer that the NCDC has credited N52,000.00 to their bank account.
2. If the caller requests one to call back, it is not from your bank. The call back strategy is used by swindlers to get the attention of their victims. An instance of this was when a number 09064721039 called a bank customer requesting that the customer call back to claim their gift of N45,000 from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) which Dubawa fact-checked and found out to be false.
3. The scammers will, sometimes, request for the number of an ATM card, its expiry date, last withdrawal date or even ATM PIN. You are advised not to fall for any of these. Frequently, banks warn their customers not to give out vital information. For instance, when a number like 09064721039 texts a bank customer and requests the customer call back, the tradition among scammers is that a female responds and pretends to be calling from, say, the NCDC requesting the customer to call out the ATM number, PIN, and last withdrawal. This is certainly not from the bank.
4. Be smart, scammers can generate messages with your bank name. Whenever you see any information in your bank’s name, read through to check if it is in the same message box with other previous messages from your bank. If not, then it is fake. And, if you are the type that usually deletes your bank message, then visit the bank for inquiries. No matter how urgent the caller sounds, contact the bank for inquiries. And, even inside the bank, it is advised that you preserve the secrecy of your ATM PIN.
The researcher produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with NEWSWIRENGR to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.
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