CBN, NCC Join Forces against Electronic Fraud

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By Nume Ekeghe

The Director, Banking and Payment System Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, has disclosed that measures taken by the central bank in recent times have resulted to a reduction in the amount of electronic fraud in the country.

Fatokun, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) said this on the sidelines of meeting by the group in Lagos at the weekend.

According to him, since the last report which showed a rise in electronic frauds in the country, there has been a drastic reduction in incidence of fraud in the country.

He also said the CBN was collaborating with telecommunication companies and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to further help curb electronic and identity theft.

Fatokun explained: “Fortunately, although globally the level of electronic fraud has been increasing, but in Nigeria, it has been decreasing.

“The trend has been coming down essentially because of the steps we have taken. Before now, we have issued many circulars that have addressed the issue of electronic fraud and that is why in Nigeria, it has been coming down.”

He however added: “But that does not mean that it has been totally eliminated. But we want to ensure that confidence and trust in the payment system is not reduced due to fraud and we are thankful for these successes.

“Also another measure we are taking is that we are working with the NCC and the telcos, so that when fraudsters steal other people’s identity by taking their SIM either by swapping or cloning the SIM, they would not have access to the bank accounts of such customers.”

Also, he said the NeFF Steering Committee strongly believes awareness and sensitisation remains key to avoid being prey to fraudsters.

He added: “The primary thing is to educate the bank customers so that when people send text messages, emails or phone calls claiming to be officials from a bank they would recognise it as fraud.

“We believe that when people are well educated, they would stop falling victim to fraudsters. The most important one is sensitisation, because when you are aware, you would not fall victim.

“The steering committee of the NEFF has decided to launch a social media campaign that would be used to sensitise and educate people and it would come in attractive forms so that both the young and the old can be reached.

“We believe that with social media, we would reach a large number of people and the message would be conveyed in a better way than using other means.” he said.

The CBN recently rolled out a new set of penalties for organisations that flout its Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) rules. The central bank had stated this in a circular titled: Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (administrative sanctions) regulations, 2018.”

The new regime stipulates fines on banks, their directors and other key officials for money laundering infractions. The circular was developed by the CBN in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (OAGF).

According to the CBN, banks and board members or chief compliance officers will all be sanctioned for 31 out of the 48 money laundering infractions listed in the new regime.

For each of the 31 infractions, the new regime stipulates minimum fines ranging from N500,000 to N1.2 million on board members or chief compliance officers or the internal auditor, and fines ranging from N1 million to N20 million on the offending bank.