In a resounding call to arms against the mounting challenges posed by electronic fraud in the financial sector, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, has called upon the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) to unite in devising robust solutions.
Speaking with fervor at the third quarter general meeting of NeFF in Lagos, Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe underscored the urgency of the situation. She elaborated that electronic fraud, encompassing a range of online activities aimed at exploiting both individuals and businesses for financial gain, presents a formidable hurdle that requires collective action.
Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe‘s speech highlighted a variety of e-fraud methods, including phishing, advanced fee fraud (419), online auction fraud, identity theft, tech support scams, online romance scams, investment scams, business email compromises, ransomware attacks, online rental schemes, pyramid schemes, and click fraud. This comprehensive overview aimed to raise awareness about the multifaceted nature of the e-fraud menace.
Citing alarming statistics, the Fidelity Bank leader spotlighted the exponential rise of electronic payment transactions in Nigeria. She pointed out that the value of these transactions had surged by an astounding 298% year-on-year, soaring from N34.04 trillion in Q1 2022 to an unprecedented N135.52 trillion in Q1 2023, according to data released by the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe warned that as technological advancements continue to reshape the digital landscape, society’s reliance on digital transactions has grown significantly. Yet, this surge in digital engagement has created a parallel rise in the threat of e-fraud, which poses a considerable challenge to individuals, businesses, and entire industries.
Notably, Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe divulged that the banking industry had incurred a substantial loss of N14.3 billion to electronic fraud in 2022, representing an increase from the N12.7 billion reported in 2021.
The first quarter of 2023 alone witnessed a fraud loss of N5 billion, as documented in the NIBSS Annual Fraud Landscape reports.
In her insightful address, Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe revealed that mobile channels were the preferred avenues of exploitation for fraudsters, with 45,090 reported fraud records in 2022 and 42,821 in 2021. The cumulative fraud count for 2021 reached 123,918, and 101,668 for 2022, further underscoring the urgent need for vigilance and protective measures.
The Fidelity Bank CEO painted a sobering picture of the widespread impact of e-fraud, emphasizing that its ramifications stretch beyond mere financial losses. She elaborated that the erosion of trust and brand reputation stood as additional consequences, affecting industries spanning from banking and finance to e-commerce.
As the call to action reverberates through the financial sector, stakeholders are urged to collaborate closely to fortify their defenses against the persistent wave of e-fraud. Fidelity Bank’s Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe’s passionate plea underscores the critical need for comprehensive strategies that encompass technology, education, and collaboration to safeguard Nigeria’s financial ecosystem.