Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, has issued a fervent call to action for the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) to collaboratively devise solutions to the mounting challenges posed by electronic fraud within the nation’s financial system.
Speaking at NeFF’s 3rd quarter general meeting in Lagos, Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe emphasized the pressing need to tackle the surge in electronic fraud, which threatens both individuals and businesses alike. She explained that electronic fraud encompasses various online activities aimed at exploiting individuals and organizations for financial gain.
The Fidelity Bank CEO went on to list several examples of e-fraud, including phishing, advanced fee fraud (popularly known as ‘419’), online auction fraud, identity theft, tech support scams, online romance scams, investment scams, business email compromise, ransomware attacks, online rental schemes, pyramid schemes, and click fraud.
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe underscored the alarming upward trajectory of electronic fraud in Nigeria and its associated challenges. She revealed that “According to data released by NIBSS, the value of electronic payment transactions in Nigeria increased by 298% Year-on-Year from N34.04 trillion in Q1 2022 to N135.52 trillion in Q1 2023.”
“Technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace,” she added, “and our reliance on digital transactions has grown exponentially. However, with this rise in digital interactions, the threat of e-fraud has become a significant challenge affecting individuals, businesses, and industries alike.”
The Fidelity Bank chief executive also highlighted concerning statistics related to financial losses due to electronic fraud. “The banking industry lost a total of N14.3 billion to electronic fraud in 2022, up from the N12.7 billion reported in 2021,” she said. “As of Q1 2023, the total fraud loss was N5 billion, according to the NIBSS Annual Fraud Landscape reports.”
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe stressed that the mobile channel was the most exploited by fraudsters in both 2021 and 2022, with 42,821 and 45,090 reported fraud records, respectively. The total number of fraud cases in 2021 stood at 123,918, while it reached 101,668 in 2022.
“E-fraud has permeated multiple industries, spanning from banking and finance to e-commerce and beyond,” she noted. “These cybercriminals leverage advanced methods to exploit vulnerabilities, gaining unauthorized access to crucial data and funds. The repercussions of e-fraud are not limited to financial losses; they also extend to eroding trust and damaging brand reputation.”