Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has spread its dragnet for a suspect, Akinade Tofunmi, over alleged fraud committed using ATM cards.
EFCC also warned to bank customers to avoid disclosing their ATM Personal Identification Numbers, PIN, to anybody in the wake of the nationwide efforts underway to arrest the fraud suspect.
The anti-graft agency announced on its Facebook page to draw attention to the activities of one suspected ATM fraudster said to go by the name Akinade Tofunmi, who had allegedly withdrawn N3 million within 24 hours with the identity of her victims.
According to EFCC, the suspect does not operate during official hours of the week. She rather “operates late in the night when all bank transactions had closed and preferably over the weekend when her ‘prospective’ victims might not be able to alert the banks for any unauthorised transaction.”
Narrating her latest operation, EFCC said the fraud suspect has so far succeeded in raking in about three million (N3m) within 24 hours with the identity of her victims.
“Dateline was Friday, June 3rd, 2016, at about the close of work. A woman simply identified as Alhaja and her husband who was waiting in the car wanted to use an ATM somewhere in Ibadan, Oyo State, when Tofunmi noticed that the woman limps.
Pretending to be polite and cultured, she offered to assist her with the transaction on the ATM. Unaware of the intention behind the pious approach, she gave the fraudster her ATM card and divulged her PIN.
Smartly, the fraudster quickly checked the balance in the account which had one million, seven hundred and forty nine thousand, twenty six naira and seven kobo (N1, 749, 026. 07). After the intended withdrawal of N20, 000, the fraudster swapped the card and gave Alhaja a fake ATM card.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]According to EFCC, the suspect does not operate during official hours of the week. She rather “operates late in the night when all bank transactions had closed and preferably over the weekend when her ‘prospective’ victims might not be able to alert the banks for any unauthorised transaction.”[/quote]Oblivious of the swap, she left with her husband. Shortly before midnight, the fraudster started the ‘harvest’ of her booty. She withdrew one hundred and thirty thousand naira. Having exceeded the daily withdrawing limit for that day, she waited for a few minutes to the following day which was a Saturday. Shortly after midnight, she made another rounds of withdrawals to the tune of one hundred and fifty thousand naira which was also the daily limit for that day.”
EFCC narrated further that “In a desperate need of where and how to empty the balance in the account, she went to a night club where she met a motorcycle transporter, popularly known as Okada whom she approached for a help. 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 to the bike man’s account. With that, she has been able to secure some of Alhaja’s money in the bike man’s account thereby stealing the identity of the unsuspecting bike man.
At the early hours of that Saturday morning, she asked the bike man to take her to a hotel with an intention to further steal the identity of the hotelier for another movement of the money.
At the hotel reception while paying for her accommodation which was N10, 000 (Ten thousand naira) for one night, she deliberated credited the hotel’s account with one hundred and one thousand naira (N101, 000) feigning a mistake and demanded a refund of ninety-one thousand naira (N91, 000) balance of an over payment. This was also done with Alhaja’s ATM card through the POS machine at the Hotel.”
According to the anti-graft agency, “to further conceal her identity, she 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 Saturday; hence, Alhaja and her husband are still in dilemma with no help in sight to stop the transactions in the account.
By Sunday, Alhaja’s money had moved to the fraudster both in cash and through transfer to the bike man account domicile in the same bank.
All these while, the fraudster was in possession of both Alhaja the first victim and the bike man, the second victim’s ATM cards. Later the following day, Monday, the bike man could no longer reach the fraudster on phone; he (the bike man) then went to the bank to request for another ATM card.
It was later discovered in the bank that part of Alhaja’s money was transferred to the bike man’s account. He was arrested by the bank and He’s now helping the EFCC operatives to track down the fraudster. Investigations have revealed that this same fraudster had stolen the identities of other victims earlier and had absconded to, Ilorin, Kwara State.”
EFCC is seeking the cooperation and support of public spirited members of the society to please help unveil the identity of Akinade Tofunmi.
ATM card users need to be careful with their cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Card users should not divulge any information about their account details to anyone. ATM fraudsters are on the loose taking advantage of people’s insensitivity and carelessness.
In another development, EFCC has arraigned James Edwin Ehiaghe and Aimienmwona Osahon before Justice O.O Tokode of the Federal High Court Benin, Edo State over ATM fraud and other related online scams.
According to the anti graft agency the duo who were separately charged with two counts each specialise in defrauding their victims through text messages.
According to the complainant, on 18th January 2016, she received an SMS on her MTN line purported to have emanated from Central Bank of Nigeria’s Customer Care Department, claiming that her ATM Card will be deactivated unless she called the ‘CBN Customer Care Phone Number 01342233’ to update her bank details.
After calling the number, she was asked to send her Primary Account Number (PAN) and her ATM Primary Identification Number (PIN), an instruction she naively complied with, only to receive a debit alert of the sum of N120, 000 from her account.
Investigations later revealed that the said amount deducted from the victim’s account was transferred to the second accused person’s account who was arrested by the bank’s security officials after the account was flagged by EFCC.
Operatives of the commission found various incriminating items including a laptop containing some scam documents, various fake driver’s licenses, internet modems and ATM cards of different banks, in a search conducted on the suspects.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them, in view of which the prosecuting counsel, Mbachie Innocent applied for a trial date.
The defence counsel, O. Egharedba and A. Odemwingie respectively applied for bail for their clients.