The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has raised the alarm about the activities of identity thieves and automated teller machine fraudsters in the country. It has also urged Nigerians to be more careful when carrying out transactions via ATMs and to avoid disclosing their Personal Identification Numbers to others.
In a post on its Facebook page, the anti-graft agency drew attention to the activity of one suspected ATM fraudster, who goes by the name Akinade Tofunmi.
The EFCC, which has released images of the suspect, is seeking the cooperation and support of Nigerians to capture her and prevent her from defrauding more people. The suspected scammer, who is being trailed by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the EFCC, is into identity theft and lurks around the ATMs and Point of Sale machines.
According to the EFFC, Tofunmi, operates late in the night when all bank transactions had closed and preferably over the weekend when her prospective victims may not be able to alert the banks for any unauthorised transaction.
“In her last operation, within twenty four hours; this fraudster who operates with the identity of her victims succeeded to have raked in about three million (N3m) within 24 hours,” the anti-graft agency revealed.
One of the methods employed by the suspected fraudster is to approach people having difficulty using the ATM politely and in a cultured manner and offering to help them, only to dupe them in the end.
For instance, on Friday, June 3, 2016, the EFCC said she had helped a woman known as Alhaja to withdraw money at an ATM in Ibadan. But instead of returning the ATM card to the woman afterwards, she swapped the card with another in her possession.
Equipped with the card and the pin as well as with the knowledge that N3m was in the account she made several ATM withdrawals and carried out PoS transactions.
The EFCC added, “Having exceeded the daily withdrawing limit for that day, she waited for a few minutes to the following day which was a Saturday.
“Shortly after midnight, she made another rounds of withdrawals to the tune of one hundred and fifty thousand naira which was also the daily limit for that day.
“However, Alhaja and her husband had no one to run or call that night to save the situation when the debit alerts start coming in torrent.”
Not satisfied with what she had stolen, the fraudster started transferring funds out of the account to another one.
“In a desperate need of where and how to empty the balance in the account, she went to a night club where she met a motorcycle transporter, popularly known as Okada whom she approached for a help. Her decoy was that she had enough money in her account but could not access it having exceeded her daily withdrawal limit,” the EFCC said.
“She showed the bike man her balance and pleaded with him to give her his ATM card, account details and PIN for a quick teller transfer from her (Alhaja’s) account to the bike man’s account. With that, she has been able to secure some of Alhaja’s money in the bike man’s account thereby stealing the identity of the unsuspecting bike man.”
She continued her scam when she got the motorcyclist to take her to a hotel.
“At the hotel reception while paying for her accommodation which was N10, 000 for one night, she deliberated credited the hotel’s account with N101, 000 feigning a mistake and demanded a refund of ninety-one thousand naira (N91, 000) balance of an overpayment. This was also done with Alhaja’s ATM card through the POS machine at the Hotel.
“To further conceal her identity, she provided fake personal details in the hotel and gave the hotel the bike man’s account detail when the hotel management requested for an account to deposit the refund.
All these happened on Saturday; hence, Alhaja and her husband are still in dilemma with no help in sight to stop the transactions in the account.
“By Sunday, Alhaja’s money had moved to the fraudster both in cash and through transfer to the bike man account domicile in the same bank. All these while, the fraudster was in possession of both Alhaja the first victim and the bike man, the second victim’s ATM cards.”
The bike man was arrested on Monday June 5, when he could no longer reach the fraudster on phone and went to the bank to request for another ATM card.”
The EFCC said the suspect has defrauded others and has been spotted in other parts of the country.