Findings by independent forensic accountants have revealed that over 60 per cent of Nigerian banking public do not request for their bank account statements from their banks, while over 80 per cent of those that collect their financial statements fail to scrutinise it to spot either hidden charges or illegal charges.
These non-challant attitudes, financial experts believed, made hackers and fraudsters fleece the banking customers.
A lot of these ignorant or care free depositors have lost fortunes running into several billions of naira.
To avoid falling victim to this menace of banks fleecing their customers, all you need to do is to follow the guides provided by the experts below:
A financial analyst, Mr. Peter Adebayo, warned depositors to be weary of ‘phishing’. Phishing is when scammers use information- gathering to request for telephone numbers, emails and personal details of ignorant banking public.
He stated that the innovation has become more prevalent as scammers try to get bank customers to divulge their bank information through email or unsolicited phone calls. They pretend to be part of the company that can be trusted.
The Lagos-based expert advised the banking public to use password on their mobile phones, laptop computers and mobile gadgets.
“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.
Pass word the files where you store this data so that even if a thief manages to steal the computer or cell phone, your personal information is safe,” he said.
Another financial analyst, Mr. Tobi Owoeye, believed that it is important for people to avoid using the same password for all accounts and computers or files.
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
“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 differ completely from your personal account,” he advised.
He added that withdrawal slips and cheque books should be kept properly.
Owoeye said, “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 secured 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 observed that many bank customers do not go through their bank account statements for a whole year or even more, and insisted that it is important for you 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 not any payments that are being made from your account without your approval. This may be in the form of auxiliary services,” he added.