As Lady Allegedly Stole N3m from ATM, EFCC Raises Alarm on Identity Theft
The Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is on the trail of a lady, Akinade Tofunmi, alleged to have stolen N3m using the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards of unsuspecting victims.
The Head, Media and Publicity of the Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement yesterday, said that suspect, who is currently on the prowl, targets victims at ATM Points as well as Point of Sales (PoS) machines across the country.
He said that in her last operation, Tofunmi, who operates with the identity of her victims, stole about N3million within 24 hours.
According to him, one of the methods employed by the suspected fraudster is to politely approach people having difficulty using the ATM and offering to help, only to dupe them after obtaining their personal identification numbers.
He said this was the scenario that played out on Friday, June 3, 2016, when a woman simply identified as Alhaja attempted to use the ATM in Ibadan, Oyo state while her husband waited for her in the car.
"Tofunmi observing that the elderly lady had some difficulty, offered to help. In the process, she obtained her PIN number, and after the transaction, swapped Alhaja card with another in her possession.
"Armed with the card and the PIN as well as the knowledge that the account had a credit balance of N3million, she made several ATM withdrawals and carried out PoS transactions."
"Having exceeded the daily withdrawing limit, Tofunmi waited for a few minutes into the following day which was a Saturday.
"Shortly after midnight, she made another rounds of withdrawals to the tune of N150,000.00 (one hundred and fifty thousand naira) which was also the withdrawal limit for that day," he added.
Uwujaren said that since it was a weekend when most banks officially closed for business, Alhaja and her husband were helpless as debit alerts started coming in torrents.
Not satisfied with what she had stolen, he said the fraudster started transferring funds out of the account.
The EFCC Spokesman said that in desperate need of where and how to empty the balance in the account, Tofunmi went to a night club where she met a motorcycle transporter, popularly known as Okada rider, whom she approached for help.
According to him, her decoy was that she had enough money in her account, but could not access it having exceeded her daily withdrawal limit.
"She showed the bike man her balance and pleaded with him to give her his ATM card, account details and PIN for a quick teller transfer from her (Alhaja’s) account . With that, she was able to transfer some of Alhaja’s money to the bike man’s account thereby stealing the identity of the unsuspecting bike man.
"To further cover her tracks and ensure a total clear out of the victim’s account, she got the motorcyclist to take her to a hotel," he said.
Uwujaren further stated: "At the hotel reception, while paying for her accommodation which was N10, 000.00 (ten thousand naira) for a night, she deliberately credited the hotel’s account with N101, 000 (one hundred and one thousand naira) feigning a mistake and demanded a refund of N91, 000.00 (ninety-one thousand naira) as over-payment. This was also done with Alhaja’s ATM card through the PoS machine at the Hotel.
"To further conceal her identity, Tofunmi provided fake personal details in the hotel and gave the hotel the bike man’s account detail when the hotel management requested for an account to deposit the refund."
"All these happened on a Saturday.
"By Sunday, Alhaja’s funds had been moved to the fraudster ( through both cash withdrawals and transfers to the bike man’s account domiciled in the same bank). All the while, the fraudster was in possession of ATM cards of both Alhaja (the first victim) and the bike man (the second victim).
"The bike man was arrested on Monday June 5, when he could no longer reach the fraudster on phone and went to the bank to request for another ATM card.
The suspect has allegedly defrauded others and has been spotted in other parts of the country", he explained.
Uwujaren urged members of the public to be vigilant when carrying out transactions via ATMs and to avoid disclosing their Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) to others
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