THE menace of ATM fraudsters will continue to hound the nation's banking sector unless there is a concerted effort by banks and members of the public to fight the challenge, says Fidelity Bank Plc.
Speaking at the 12th Quarterly General Meeting of the Committee of Chief Inspectors of Banks in Nigeria (CCIBN) in Lagos, Thursday, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi expressed concern about the lack of co-operation among banks in the fight to stem the incidence of ATM related frauds now plaguing the industry.
Ihejiahi, who was represented at the event by Willie Obiano, executive director (Business Banking), observed that the present silence among banks on ATM frauds makes it difficult for banks to share vital information that will help curb the menace.
The banking chieftain who spoke on the topic: ATM Fraud and its Implications on Retail Banking, traced the origin of ATM fraud to the 1993 installation of fake ATM in a shopping mall in Manchester, Connecticut, U.S.A.
According to him, the incidence of ATM fraud has grown since then to become one of the most common frauds confronting the banking industry in the country. "Banks are inundated with customers' complaints and this is yet to stop", he observed, further pointing out that the methods often used by the fraudsters are not completely different from what obtains overseas.
He bemoaned the fact that in spite of the negative effect of ATM fraud on the economy, there are no statistical data to show the exact volume of money lost through ATM related frauds in Nigeria. "Neither have we seen any successful conviction of the few ATM fraudsters arrested so far to serve as deterrent to others", he further noted.
In his views also, banks have not helped their own case as they have failed to co-operate to tackle the problem. "We don't share experience", he observed further, citing competition in rolling out ATM machines and ATM products, inadequate understanding of the switch controls, lack of reliable fraud statistics and proliferation of products rolled out without consideration of the implications as reasons why the incidence of ATM fraud is on the rise in Nigeria.
Obiano wondered why ATM cards should be indiscriminately issued to customers without regard to their literacy level.
According to him, one of the frequent causes of fraud is when customers are careless with their cards and pin numbers as well as when they respond to unsolicited mails and text messages or provide card and pin details to unknown persons among others.
Obiano also blamed Switches and other service providers whose fierce competition for market share makes possibilities of a united attack on the menace of ATM fraudsters impossible. He would like to see the promulgation of enabling laws under which e-business including ATM transactions can be conducted in the country which will ensure that Switches are properly regulated and supervised.
He therefore advised that there must be increased co-operation among banks to fight ATM frauds with the help of structures like the Committee of Chief Inspectors of Banks in Nigeria (CCIBN) as well as members of the public, providing useful information when required
He also recommended that CBN should regulate Switches and other e-banking service providers while attempts should be made to standardise the ATM and processes.