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WITH the sophisticated network behind The Internet of Things, many have suffered the reality of what it means to be scammed or simply defrauded. While some have awakened to a shudder in their daily lives, the majority have simply described it as “a tragedy”.

A certain young man, whilst standing in the queue by the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), had a fairly young lady in front of him. When it was her turn to transact, she began fidgeting with her hand bag. She turned to this young man behind her, with a worrisome look on her face and said to him, “Please, I need a favor!! I have Just realized that I forgot my ATM card and need to withdrawal a ZMW 10,000.00 to buy food for a funeral house. Can I send the money to your account you withdrawal for me? Please!! In fact, you will just give me a ZMW 9,800.00 and get the ZMW 200.00 for your kindness.”

This sounded like a dream!! The man had no reason to resist the offer. The deal was done – ZMW 10,000.00 was sent to his account, he transacted for the lady and parted away with the ZMW 200.00.

But, as the saying goes, there’s always free cheese in a mousetrap!

The young man, unknowingly, just abetted the commission of a fraud!! And there goes a provision of the law – “Ignorance of the law does not afford any excuse for any act or omission which would otherwise constitute an offence”.

The lady had fraudulent taken over someone’s bank account, and the only way she could syphon the millions from that account, was to find multiple accounts where she could transfer the funds to and thereafter get the money without leaving any trace of herself.

What a tragedy for the young man. He had just become an accomplice to the Big Fraud. How can he escape the wrath of the law???

Yes, hundreds of people have fallen victims to this kind of fraud. Fraudsters strategically position themselves by ATMS, Agency Banking Booths, by branches and have out smarted a lot of people. 

Beware of offers, which are too good to be true. Nothing comes for free!!!

• Be suspicious of all ‘too good to be true offers or deals.

• Never allow anyone you don’t know to use your account.

• Even with those you know, offer them alternatives. Your account should be the last option.

Whilst others are being duped in this way, other members of the public are offered fake jobs, given offer letters and asked to open bank accounts for their salaries to be deposited in, only to be later asked to surrender their ATM Cards.

These circumstances are hard to explain when the account, under your name, is used for fraud and the law catches up with you.

Yet still, others are being hooked through different Social Media Platforms, particularly Facebook. Whilst their minds are still spinning in unbelievable offers, a small favor is asked of them. In a low tone of voice-“I want you to help me open an account and once done, I will give you an address where to send the ATM Card. You know with our positions, people always watching us”.

With the offers already given, who can say no to this? Consider it done Sir. The deal is done and the ATM Card is sent to the address provided, mostly to Nigeria.

Before you realize it, the Facebook Account for the so-called prominent individual disappears and all messages gone. The next thing is the wrath of the law knocking. Your account was just used in a million-fraud transaction. How can one escape this????

Behind all these unfortunate scenarios, is also someone crying over the loss of their hard-earned money. Someone’s account has just been taken over.

Account Takeover Fraud, is when a fraudster gains access to an account that does not belong to them, changes information such as log in credentials and makes unauthorized transactions in that account.

This happens in so many ways. Here is a deep dive in one of the ways;

Things start like a normal loss of Mobile Network service on your phone. Not knowing its more than that. A fraudster has just taken over your Mobile number and has contacted your bank to reset Mobile Banking Pin to your accounts!! Many people ask how?

This is not a day-off activity. It takes a fraudster a bit of a while to gather information about an individual and one of the sources for this information are the personal details we supply on the internet/social media platforms. With this, and any additional information obtained from other different sources, a fraudster is well equipped and able to represent you anywhere with their head up.

Ways to tell that you are affected;

• Your SIM card is no longer active and you lose service on your phone.

• You may receive a text message stating the SIM card for your number has been changed, and to call customer service if you didn’t request for the change.

 • But with your SIM card no longer active, you won’t be able to place a call from your phone.

Quick measures:

 • Once you realize you’ve lost service on your mobile device, immediately contact your Mobile Service Provider using an available phone, and let them know you didn’t request for the changes. The criticality of this can’t be over emphasized. Do not wait to call on your line!! The longer someone has access to your phone number, the more damage they can do. 

    • With your SIM card deactivated, you won’t be able to call from your phone, but at least you should have someone handy to ask for their phone and make the call. 

 • Most importantly as well is to reaching out to your bank(s);

 • Double-check that the perpetrator hasn’t changed your PINs or

• Made any fraudulent transactions. If you find transactions that aren’t yours, let your bank know or visit a branch right away.

• Request your bank to temporarily disable Mobile Banking on your account(s) or provide an alternative line to be used.

How else can you protect yourself?

• Start by limiting the personal information you share online,

• Avoid posting your full name, address, phone number.

• Avoid oversharing details from your personal life. Chances are that you included some aspects of it in your security questions that are used to verify your identity.

• Never share your Mobile Banking PIN & or the One Time Password (OTP) with anyone, be it individuals purporting to be employees of your Bank.

When all this is happening, others are wondering, what the Financial Institutions are doing to prevent such fraudulent activities.

The Institutions are alive to these risks and working around the clock, enhancing security controls, while others even changing systems. But the BIG question is, would this alone resolve THE THINGS OF THE INTERNET PROBLEM? The sad fact is – Not permanently. Fraud is gyrating and becoming sophisticated each day, mitigating it needs consented effort.

As individuals, you are key to this, and together we can PREVENT FRAUD & BEAT THE SCAMMER. Yes, we CAN!!

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