Observations of some independent forensic accountants indicate that over 50 per cent of Nigerian banks deduct hidden or illegal charges from the accounts of their customers, especially between November and December, as they close their financial books.
They also found that most of the banking public, especially people at the bottom of the pyramid, do not request for their account statements from their financial institutions and over 70 per cent of those that collect their financial statements fail to scrutinise it to spot any hidden charges.
A lot of people tend to keep the same password for different accounts since it is convenient and easy to remember. However, it is easier for scammers to get your bank account information; all he needs to do is to get passwords to your social networking site or your email account
A financial expert, Mr. Tope Adebayo, warns depositors to be wary of some banks’ account officers and avoid giving them their account details.
The Lagos-based expert advises the banking public to use password on their mobile phones, laptop computers, mobile gadgets and such information should not be shared with anybody.
“People tend to keep sensitive information such as account numbers, Personal Identification Numbers and passwords in files on computers and phones, forgetting that they can be stolen or hacked.
“Create a password for the files where you store these data so that even if a thief manages to steal the computer or cell phone, your personal information is safe,” he says.
Another financial analyst, Mr. Tobi Owoeye, believes that it is important for people to avoid using the same password for all accounts and computers or
“A lot of people tend to keep the same password for different accounts since it is convenient and easy to remember. “However, it is easier for scammers to get your bank account information; all he needs to do is to get passwords to your social networking site or your email account where you may have stored bank account information.
“You can avoid this by having separate passwords for each account. Try using different passwords for your banking needs, make the codes different completely from your personal account,” he
He adds that withdrawal slips and cheque books should be kept properly.
Owoeye says, “Cheque books and deposit slips have your bank’s routing information and the account information. Anyone who is able to access your cheque book has instant access to this information. Avoid leaving your cheque book on your work desk, because a lot of people had been duped.
“If you need to keep it with you at work, try to leave it under lock and key in a secure place, or keep it in your purse or pocket at all times.
“Identity thieves are well known to go through the trash of unsuspecting people, who do not properly dispose their bank statements. The bank statement has not only your account number, but also your mailing address, which are two very important pieces of the puzzle for identity theft.”
The experts also observe that many bank customers do not go through their bank account statements for a whole year or even more, and insist that it is important to carry out an audit of your account, at least once every year, to make sure that any problems that have been occurring in your bank account statement for that period are corrected.
If payments that are usually carried out every week are very complex, you need to carry out these audits as frequently as twice a month. When checking for errors in your account, watch for errors such as higher withdrawals.
“Make sure that the interest rates, as reflected in your bank account statement, are calculated correctly where they apply. Ensure that the principal repayment amounts are entered correctly. The same case should apply to other deposits. Ensure that there are no payments that are being made from your account without your approval. This may be in the form of auxiliary services,” he adds.