Nigerians recount how their money was stolen from banks

A new scourge is hitting the Nigerian banking sector. These are the increasing cases of mysterious disappearances of funds from the accounts of bank customers.

As a result of this new development, Nigerians no longer consider their monetary deposits and savings safe with various financial institutions.

Banks, for their part, have also done little to come to the aid of injured customers when such incidents occur.

For Seyilola, a customer of Zenith Bank, some bank employees have become scammers or colluded with scammers to steal savings from account holders.

While recounting her experience, Seyilola told FIJ that an online scammer who identified himself as a customer service representative from Zenith Bank, recently scammed her out of N80,300.

Seyilola said she took to Twitter to see if she could file a complaint against the bank after she recently had an ATM dispensing error of 20,000 naira.

During this time, she came across a handful that she thought belonged to Zenith Bank. Unbeknownst to him, it was for a fraudster.

“The ‘customer service guy’ told me to fill out a form, providing my bank card details, which I did,” she said.

“A few minutes later, I just discovered that a sum of 80,300 naira had disappeared from my account.

Seyilola’s case is similar to the sad stories of other clients who witnessed the mysterious disappearance of hundreds and millions of naira from their accounts.

N540,240 CHARGED BY UBA FOR “ACCUMULATED FEES”

Nonso Valentine, a businessman based in Anambra State, also recently shared how N542 240 mysteriously disappeared from his United Bank for Africa (UBA) account.

Valentine said the only reason the bank could give him after the exchange of many correspondents was that the outrageous debit was for “accumulated bank charges”.

Valentine said that initially his account agent, whom he identified simply as Jane, told him the debit was for accrued interest charges from 2017 to date.

“In the initial letter from the bank, they stated that the charges were incurred from 2017 to present. Later, they stated that the charges were incurred from 2020 to present. The misinterpretation and the mistake they make is still unclear to me,” Valentine said.

“Even my account agent refused to provide an explanation of how the money left my account.

“I asked him why I had not been invited to the bank for explanations before invading my account without my consent, thus betraying the trust I had in them.

“She just apologized and told me that they had recently updated their computer software causing poor internet access and that automatically caused my account to be debited 540,240 naira.”

‘STRANGE VOICE’ HACKED N1.6M FROM HEALTH WORKER’S GTBANK ACCOUNT

Walter Ikani, a health worker in Calabar, Cross River state, while recounting his own ordeal, said a strange phone call he recently received led to the disappearance of 1.6 million naira from his Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) account.

Ikani said an unknown number called him on August 7, with the speaker dropping a string of numbers.

After ending the call, Ikani said he received a series of debit alerts indicating that 1.6 million naira had disappeared from his account.

“Confused at the voicemail, 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 FIJ.

After doing sports SportyBet was the recipient of the unauthorized transaction on his account, Ikani immediately went surfing the internet to see if he could find any of the betting team’s customer service lines.

“I searched the internet for the SportyBet customer service contact and registered my complaint. The first representative I spoke to asked me to report the case to GTBank so they could get in touch. with them to resolve the dispute as they could not oblige me as an individual,” Ikani said.

“The second customer service rep was a bit more considerate. She told me the funds had been transferred to a Palmpay account, which she read to me.

Ikani said he became more confused when officials from GTBank told him that his 1.6 million naira had been distributed among three other banks – Palmpay, Polaris and Zenith Bank.

The health worker further said that the inability of the bank to provide him with the names of the beneficiary accounts to which the funds had been transferred seemed strange to him.

He also said that the Palmpay account number initially mentioned by the SportyBet customer service representative was not reflected in the GTBank report.

FROM ZENITH TO STERLING BANK – N221,000 MISSING

In another development, Fagbemi Olusola, a Lagos-based employee of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), recently detailed how N221,000 left his Zenith Bank account under mysterious circumstances.

“That morning, I was expecting a business associate to send me 325,000 naira. I was already at work when the person called to say the money had been sent to my account,” Olusola told FIJ.

“While I was going to my phone to check a notification, I noticed that my bank had sent me several alerts stating that a total of 221,000 naira had been transferred from my account to a Sterling Bank account with the name “Abanum Nwabogor”.

Olusola said she quickly went to a branch of Zenith Bank near her to inform her staff of the disappearance of the sum, requesting that a restriction be placed on her account to prevent the 325,000 naira that she had received were also stolen.

“The bank said they had no network, so they quickly helped me call their head office to lock my account. I had to go to the Zenith Bank branch along the road from the airport to report the problem, and they asked me to write a letter, which I did, later I asked them to unlock the account so I could withdraw the N325,000 I had there -in it,” she said.

Frustrated, Olushol emailed CBN, copying Zenith Bank, but all she got was an automated response.

Despite several efforts by FIJ to get the respective banks to respond to complaints from aggrieved customers, none of the “stolen” funds have been successfully recovered till date.