In today’s global village, driven by the advancement of technology, communication with the mobile phone has been extended from one’s loved ones, business associates to the banks. With the phone, one interacts with one’s bank by opening an account, funding the account, paying bills, amongst several other activities. These are the realities of banking in the digital age.

The digital age ought to have been a reason to smile and it still very much is but we must be extra careful and vigilant as criminals have also moved their business into cyberspace detracting the unprecedented impact the digital age has had on modern banking. Crimes such as identity theft, internet fraud, cyber-attacks, hacking are making a monster out of what ought to have been a welcome phenomenon. Developed countries, despite their advanced technologies, still have people falling prey to these challenges bedeviling the benefits of today’s banking.

Recent reports show that online fraud has become costly to the financial industry. In 2020, UK finance recorded financial scams worth more than £135million. The scammers used cloned websites of investment companies and private banks. These also included fraudulent SMSs about Covid-19 vaccinations, lockout penalties, and missing delivery deliveries resulting in another £479 million worth of scams.

In the midst of these, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has and continues to expand its technology infrastructure to protect its customers, enabling them to conveniently carry out their banking transactions in a secure and timely manner.

With its unprecedented role in reinventing banking in Nigeria – through its over 127 years of business operations in the country – the financial institution has been exemplary in advancing the growth of banking in Nigeria, extending to other business ventures beyond the financial industry.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited is a bank of many firsts and a leading promoter of electronic banking. Using the USSD option or the mobile banking app, one can open an account and carry out various financial transactions.

What happens if your wallet gets stolen with your ATM and mobile phone?

 When it comes to financial scams, the first concern is the security infrastructure of your financial services provider, and FirstBank has this area well covered. FirstBank thought ahead and created an emergency feature that users can activate. If one loses one’s mobile phone and ATM, or suspect that there has been a compromise on one’s account, one can activate the ‘Post No Debit’ instruction or have the account blocked to protect one’s funds immediately. All one does is dial *894*911# on any mobile phone, follow the prompts and enter the required information to block the account.

On the other hand, with knowledge sharing and public enlightenment activities over the years, FirstBank has continued to reiterate its resolve to protect not just its customers but the public at large from cybercrime. The effectiveness of these clear-cut campaigns is the basis for proper public education, which is key to having the banking public safe and secure, irrespective of where they are in the world. The Bank has held several Information Security Webinars to educate the global community on ways to stay scam smart. These webinars have played several roles targeted at equipping participants with vital information to make informed decisions and guard against malicious cyber-attacks.

Also, through its social media handles, FirstBank recurrently shares messages to advise its followers and the public at large not to disclose their card PIN, passwords, and any other personal account detail to anyone via calls, texts or emails.

Katy Worobec, UK Finance’s managing director of economic crime, recently said that given banks’ superior security measures, scammers now target victims directly by deceiving them into handing away their money or information. Consumers using mobile apps and other electronic banking options can also turn down automatic sign-ins as manually entered passwords are preferred. Multifactor authentication adds another layer of login security by making users enter another code received via text message or app. There are security features which will show you that you are on First Bank website, and even then, you will not be required to enter Bank Verification Number, or ATM pin. Combatting cyber-fraud is a collective responsibility of both customers and their banks.

Much as the bank has provided a secure banking infrastructure, along with protective measures for customers to use, the job becomes easier on the customers who only have to keep their sensitive details safe and adhere to the learnings they received via emails, the social media, events and amongst others.

To this end, please keep your sensitive data safe, to ensure your funds stay secure. Stay Scam Smart.

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