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Report: Fraud in Nigeria’s banking sector rose by N14.71bn in four years

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SB Morgen (SBM) Intelligence, a geopolitical research firm, says the amount of money lost to fraud in Nigeria’s financial sector increased by N14.71 billion or 83 percent between 2019 and 2023.

According to the research firm, the amount increased steadily from N2.96 billion to N17.67 billion within the reviewed period.

SBM Intelligence said the banking sector lost N11.61 billion in 2020, N12.77 billion in 2021, N14.32 billion in 2022, and N17.67 billion in 2023. 

“Fraud is common in the financial sector globally. In Nigeria, it is endemic. Although the number of incidents has reduced from a 2021 high, the amount of money lost to fraud has increased significantly,” SBM said.

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“This may indicate that the perpetrators have gotten better at their act and figured out ways to move larger sums of money undetected.”

In 2023, the firm said N3.80 million was lost to vishing, while fake assistance gulped N1.01 billion during the concerned period. 

Vishing involves defrauding people over the phone, enticing them to divulge sensitive information.

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Fraud emanating from missing and lost cards was N122.2 million, while N551.2 million was forfeited to phishing, N192.3 million to lack of two-factor authentication (2FA), and N658.8 million to card theft. 

Also, the sector lost N9.37 billion to social engineering, N2.437 billion to website/server hacking, N1.61 billion to robbery, and N1.3 billion to pin compromise. 

SBM said internal collusion caused the loss of N1.03 billion, while phone theft and SMShing slurped N317.7 million and N30.7 million, respectively.

SMShing is phishing via text, directing people to follow a link or call to provide sensitive account information.

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Additionally, the firm said other sources of fraud caused a loss of N363.3 million. 

According to SBM, the number of fraudulent incidents in the financial sector was 44,947 in 2019, rising to 101,624 in 2020, and further spiking to 123,918 in 2021.

However, in 2022, fraudulent transactions decreased to 101,669 and further down to 95,620 in 2023, the SBM said.

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