The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend said its recent policy of cash withdrawal limit would aid in curbing electronic fraud (e-fraud).
The apex bank’s Director of Payments System Management Department, Mr. Musa Jimoh, who gave this assurance yesterday in Lagos, also disclosed that as electronic payments continued to gain traction, fraudulent transactions in 2022 declined by 35 per cent compared to last year.
Speaking at the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) meeting, Jimoh said the new policy would deter criminals from defrauding innocent people because of the withdrawal limits which would automatically trace and block such compromised accounts before the money is illegally withdrawn.
He said: “As we envisage and begin to put some limits on the cash withdrawal that can happen daily the incidence of fraud would also tame down- because right now, they steal huge amounts of money, and then at about from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., they go to an ATM and withdraw everything. But right now, with the policy on limits, you would not be able to take as much and the system will be able to trace and block such accounts before the money is taken away.
“So, this cashless limit is also a way of deterring fraudsters from taking other people’s money,” Jimoh explained.
Speaking on the strides the CBN and NeFF have made in reducing e-fraud, the apex bank official said they have been able to ring-fence the payment infrastructure and the finance system against criminal activities.
He disclosed that already, their efforts have reduced the incidence of fraud by 35 per cent, adding that a substantial amount of money has been recovered through a cocktail of initiatives put in place to check the activities of criminals.
He said: “We have actually tamed down the incidence of fraud. We have recovered so many lost funds and we are putting formidable systems around our payment infrastructure and financial system infrastructure such that fraudsters cannot penetrate.”
“In terms of percentage, it is between 30 to 35 per cent decline in incidences of fraud. Remember, there are attempts and they are successful ones. The number of attempts is high, which means that they have been attempting but they are not successful and some are successful and so money is taken away. And in terms of recovery, we also recovered high numbers in terms of the percentage of the monies recovered because of the different initiatives and systems that have been put in place to checkmate all those fraudsters and to track wherever the money is taken into.”
According to him, plans are being put in place by the CBN and NeFF to ensure that no e-fraud activities take place in Nigerian banks next year.
Also speaking at the same event, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) Mr. Premier Oiwoh urged banks to invest more in technology to help reduce fraud from being perpetrated.
Oiwoh reiterated the need for banks to invest in technology to curb fraud citing that artificial intelligence (AI) if used well would help eliminate fraud.
Noting that one of the major problems in the nation’s banking industry is the reluctance to report fraud cases, he, therefore, called on the apex bank to ease the process of recovery and the need for each bank to set up a fraud desk.
He said: “Institutions should invest in Enterprise Fraud management (EFM), a fraud monitoring tool. A system is as effective as the person who sets it up. I don’t think the EFM that exists today works. EFM is supposed to be smart. It is an artificial intelligence (AI) that should intercept, analyse, interpret and take actions.”
“Also, the recovery process even when these frauds occur, I think is something the CBN needs to look into. Also, a major problem in the industry is that people shy away from reporting fraud. I urge every player in the ecosystem to set up a fraud desk,” he added.