How fraudsters can access your bank accounts through stolen phones

A customer holds an iPhone 6 (R) and iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple store on Fifth Avenue after the phones went on sale in New York in this file photo taken September 19, 2014. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/Files

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has advised Nigerians whose phones were stolen to rush to the nearest branch of their banks to block their accounts.

The Sokoto zonal head of the agency, Aliyu Yunusa, gave the advice while speaking with newsmen on Wednesday.

Yunusa, who spoke about the increase in ATM related fraud in Sokoto, identified two major methods through which such frauds were being perpetrated.

The first method he said was “ATM Swap” which usually occurs when unsuspecting victims visit the ATM machine or POS terminals where the scammers lurk around looking for prospective victims that may require their help in using the ATM.

“The suspects usually offer to help the victims in operating the ATM and in the process swap the card with a dormant ATM card from the same bank.

“After swapping the victim’s card and memorizing his/her pin, the fraudster will simply shrug it off as a temporary network issue and return the already swapped card to the victim while he walks away with the victim’s ATM card.

“The same fraudster will visit another ATM stand, at a later time to comfortably withdraw all the money in the victim’s account or transfers all the savings of the victim to another account,” he said

The second method, according to him, was “Mobile Phone Theft”.

“In this instance, the stolen mobile phone is usually sold to fraudsters who will in turn, use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data popularly known as USSD to get your bank details from a simple code.

“It helps them know where your bank account is domiciled, but to the novice fraudster he may try every bank’s USSD code until he becomes successful.

“Then use your banks USSID code. They will transfer the content of your account to another bank account, usually of a victim who’s card and pin are in their possession,” he said.

He advised the general public to be more security conscious in protecting their Personal and financial information, especially ATM card, pin, BVN, NIN and mobile phones.

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