The Zone 2 Police Command in Lagos State of Nigeria Police Force (NPC) has confirmed the arrest of two members of a fraudulent syndicate linked to the hacking of no fewer than 1000 bank accounts in Nigeria. The suspects were nabbed at their hideout in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, following a petition by the United Bank for Africa.
A spokesperson for the command, SP Hauwa Idris-Adamu, in a statement on Tuesday, confirmed that the suspects, who were part of a much larger syndicate specialising in hacking local banks, using customer’s BVN linked phone numbers and bank alerts for easy transfer of the money.
Idris-Adamu identified the suspects as Yusuf Ademola, 40, and Adesina Abiodun, 50, adding that efforts were on to arrest other accomplices linked to the crime.
“The suspects confessed to the crime that they have many syndicates all over Nigeria and that they use software to hack into customers’ accounts and move their money undetected from any bank they wish. However, the modus operandi of these fraudsters is to have a customer’s BVN linked phone number and bank alert for easy transfer of the money.”SP Hauwa Idris-Adamu
The investigation and arrest were made after a petition was submitted by United Bank for Africa (UBA) to the Assistant Inspector General of Police. claiming that a hideous group of criminals were defrauding several banks through hacking.
“On May 8, 2023, a petition was submitted by United Bank for Africa to the Assistant Inspector General of Police that there are some syndicates that specialise in internet fraud of various banks in Nigeria, most especially United Bank for Africa, in which they hack into customers’ accounts and move their monies.
Based on the petition, the AIG raised a team of detectives from the Zonal Monitoring Unit, who swung into action with the aid of modern technology, and two suspects, Yusuf Ademola, 40, and Adesina Abiodun, 50, were tracked down at their hideout in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State“, she says.
Idris-Adamu noted that “over 1000 customers’ accounts have been hacked and defrauded across the country,” adding that investigation into the incident revealed that members of the syndicates were drawn from different parts of the country. She said efforts were on top gear to arrest all suspects connected with the crime.
“In the interim, the investigation is still ongoing and suspects will soon be arraigned in court upon completion of the investigation,” Idris-Adamu added.
How can Nigerians protect themselves
The internet has a significant impact on every aspect of our lives in the increasingly connected world of today. It provides a wide range of corporate, educational, and communication options. However, these advantages also carry some dangers, particularly those related to hacking and online fraud.
In a country like Nigeria where digital use is rising at a fast pace together with cyber fraud, it is important that people become abreast with the necessary knowledge and resources they need to protect themselves online.
Complex and Unique passwords
One such technique is the relevance and necessity of having strong passwords. A user’s name, initials, date of birth, or even phone number are commonly used as passwords in Nigeria nowadays. With today’s sophisticated, modern technologies at their disposal, hackers can easily exploit weak passwords and obtain unauthorised access to user accounts.
In order to protect themselves, people should use difficult password combinations that are different from their recognisable initials, date of birth, or even phone numbers.
Stay alert and cautious
Another rising concern in Nigeria’s digital space is Phishing attacks. The trend which is now common in the country, involves a scammer manipulating unsuspecting individuals into revealing personal information or login credentials. There is a need for individuals to exercise caution, verify the authenticity of emails and messages, and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
The need for people to keep their software up to date and use reliable antivirus solutions is also apparent. Software updates are essential for fixing vulnerabilities and defending against new threats since smartphones and laptops have become indispensable for conducting mobile transactions.
Despite the circumstances, concerted action and education are required to combat cyber fraud in Nigeria today. People must arm themselves with best practices, information, and tools. If at all possible, banks and institutions ought to adopt best practices for cyber security and use infrastructures that shield both them and their customers from these vulnerabilities.
There is also the role of regulators in ensuring that banks upscale their cyber infrastructure on a regular basis to stay up-to-date with growing modern demands.
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