WEMA Bank Plc has said its banking system was not hacked of N4,076,600 as reported in the print and social media.
According to the bank’s statement on Friday, “Following a recent report in the media that a teenager allegedly withdrew N4,076,600 after hacking into a WEMA Bank account, after further investigation, it has been confirmed that the said sum was fraudulently withdrawn from the WEMA Bank account of Maxwell Odoemenam without his consent.
“However, the investigations revealed that the fraudster did not hack into the Bank’s server as alleged but fraudulently swapped the customer’s SIM card through the Telecommunication company to commit the fraud.
“The SIM card swapped was due to failed controls on the part of the Telecommunication Company who did not carry out due diligence before allowing the SIM card swap. This is beyond the control of the Bank as they do not issue SIM card to customers.
“Investigation revealed that the customer had initially visited our Lawanson branch on 20/12/2018 to request for the balance in his account and when he was availed his account balance, he discovered that there was a shortfall of N20,100.00 in his balance.
“Further review of his statement of account revealed that the sum of N19,000 was transferred from his account via USSD platform into the account of one Amadi Promise in Union Bank while the balance of N1,100 was used to purchase airtime recharge for his mobile line. He, however, claimed that he did not register for USSD or any online platform with the bank thus, the transactions were fraudulent and not at his instance.
“Upon interrogation of the customer, he explained that he had earlier visited Airtel Office to complain of network downtime on his phone number (08121730557) which he registered with the bank and he was notified by a staff of Airtel Office that someone had tampered with his SIM card, hence, he visited our Lawanson branch to request that his phone number be changed to another.
“The staff of Lawanson branch (Wema Bank) who attended to the customer claimed that he advised the customer to allow the Bank to place a debit restriction on his account to avert further fraud on it but that the customer did not agree with her but rather requested for a change of telephone number on the account because it is his business account and that he did not want any restriction on it so as not to disrupt his business.
“Hence, restriction was not placed on his account but his profile was deactivated on the USSD platform. The customer however denied the assertion that he rejected the Officer’s advice on placing a restriction on his account.
“Unknown to the customer, after the initial N20,100 transactions, the fraudster(s) had already enrolled the customer on ALAT platform using the customer’s telephone number and other BVN details. The telephone number was fraudulently swapped at the Telecommunication company which gave them access to the customer’s BVN details on NIBSS platform.
“Upon the successful enrolment of the customer’s account on the ALAT platform, funds totaling N4,056,500.00 were fraudulently transferred to Adanna Mary Opara (N210,000.00), Okeke Favour (N100,000.00), Onumba Peter (N3,646,500.00) and Anyanwu Chinonyerem (N100,000) in Access, Union and GT Bank respectively.”
According to the statement, the Bank has refunded the customer with the lost funds and got the fraudsters arrested through the instrumentality of the Police to ensure substantive justice on the matter.
“Onumba Peter, one of the fraudsters who was apprehended by the Police claimed that one Nonso Okereke introduced the fraud to him. The Police has also arrested Nonso Okereke and they are currently being prosecuted at Igbosere Magistrate Court.
“In light of this, the position stated in recent publications is not correct as the case was filed in court only on May 28, 2019, and NOT July 10, 2019. The age of Nonso Okereke, the alleged fraudster, is 29 years and NOT 19 years. He is not a teenager as claimed by the reports.”
The bank said it remained committed to protecting the funds of their customers and offering safe and secure banking services.