There’s a troubling issue plaguing the Nigerian banking sector these days – an alarming rise in unexplained fund disappearances from customers’ accounts. This unsettling trend has eroded the trust Nigerians once had in their financial institutions, making them doubt the safety of their hard-earned money kept in banks.
What’s even more disheartening is that the banks themselves have not been very effective in providing relief to affected customers when these incidents occur. This lack of responsiveness has left customers feeling even more vulnerable.
Take Seyilola, a loyal Zenith Bank customer, for instance. She’s convinced that some bank employees have either gone rogue as scammers or are collaborating with fraudsters to siphon away the life savings of account holders like herself.
In her account of the incident, Seyilola shared with ThePressNG that she fell victim to an online scam perpetrated by an individual posing as a Zenith Bank customer care representative. This unfortunate event resulted in her losing N80,300.
Seyilola explained that her ordeal began when she experienced an ATM dispense error of N20,000. In an attempt to seek assistance and report the issue to the bank, she turned to Twitter. While searching for Zenith Bank’s official customer support channel, she unwittingly stumbled upon a Twitter handle that she believed to be associated with the bank. However, she was unaware that this account belonged to a fraudster.
She recounted, “The individual claiming to be a ‘customer care guy’ instructed me to fill out a form, which included providing my ATM card details. Regrettably, I complied with the request.” Shortly thereafter, Seyilola made the shocking discovery that a sum of N80,300 had been fraudulently withdrawn from her account.
Seyilola’s case is similar to the sad tales of other customers who have witnessed the mysterious disappearance of hundreds and millions of naira from their accounts.
N540,240 DEBITED BY UBA FOR ‘ACCUMULATED CHARGES’
Nonso Valentine, an Anambra State-based businessman, also recently narrated how N542,240 mysteriously vanished from his United Bank for Africa (UBA) account.
Valentine said the only reason the bank was able to give him after the exchange of many correspondents was that the outrageous debit was for “accumulated bank charges”.
Valentine said that at first, his account officer, who he simply identified as Jane, had told him that the debited was for accumulated interest charges from 2017 till date.
“In the bank’s initial mail, they said the charges were incurred from 2017 to now. Later, they said the charges were incurred from 2020 to now. The misinterpretation and mistake they are making are still not clear to me,” Valentine said.
“Even my account officer refused to provide any explanation on how the money left my account.
“I asked her why I was not invited to the bank for explanations before invading my account without my consent, thereby betraying the trust I had in them.
“She simply apologised and told me that they recently upgraded their computer software, causing poor internet access, and that this automatically led to my account being debited of N540,240.”
‘STRANGE VOICE’ HIJACKED N1.6M FROM HEALTH WORKER’S GTBANK ACCOUNT
Walter Ikani, a health worker in Calabar, Cross River State, while narrating his own ordeal said a strange phone call he recently received led to the disappearance of N1.6 million from his Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) account.
Ikani said an unknown number had called him on August 7, with the speaker blubbering out a set of numbers.
After ending the call, Ikani said he received a series of debit alerts which showed that N1.6 million had vanished from his account.
“Confused at the voice message, I quickly hung up the call, only to see a series of alerts, about 11 of them, to the tune of N1,650,000, from my GTBank account,” Ikani told ThePressNG.
After sporting out that SportyBet was the recipient of the unauthorised transaction on his account, Ikani immediately went surfing the internet to see if he could come across any of the betting outfit’s customer care lines.
“I searched the internet for the SportyBet customer care contact and registered my complaint. The first representative I spoke with asked me to report the case to GTBank so they could liaise with them to resolve the dispute because they could not oblige me as an individual,” Ikani said.
“The second customer care representative was a bit more considerate. She told me that the funds had been further transferred to a Palmpay account, which she read out to me.”
Ikani said he became more confused when he was told by GTBank officials that his N1.6 million had been circulated among three other banks – Palmpay, Polaris and Zenith Bank.
The health worker further said the bank’s inability to provide him with the beneficiary account names the funds were transferred to seemed strange to him.
He also said that the Palmpay account number initially mentioned by the SportyBet customer service representative was not reflected in GTBank’s report.
FROM ZENITH TO STERLING BANK – N221,000 VANISHED
In another development, Fagbemi Olushola, a Lagos-based employee of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), recently detailed how N221,000 had left her Zenith Bank account under mysterious circumstances.
“That morning, I was expecting a business associate to send me N325,000. I was already at work when the person called to say the money had been sent to my account,” Olushola told ThePressNG.
“As I went to my phone to check for a notification, I noticed that my bank had sent me multiple alerts showing that a total of N221,000 had been transferred from my account to a Sterling Bank account with the name ‘Abanum Nwabogor’.”
Olushola said she quickly ran to a Zenith Bank branch close to her to notify its staff of the disappearance of the sum, requesting that a restriction be placed on her account to prevent the N325,000 she received from being stolen as well.
“The bank said they did not have network, so they quickly helped me call their headquarters to lock my account. I had to go to the Zenith Bank branch along airport road to report the issue, and they asked me to write a letter, which I did. I later asked them to unlock the account so I could withdraw the N325,000 I had in there,” she said.
Frustrated, Olushola sent an email to the CBN, copying Zenith Bank, but all she got was an automated response.
Despite several efforts made by ThePressNG to get the respective banks to attend to the aggrieved customers’ complaints, none of the ‘stolen’ funds has been successfully recovered till date.
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