While setting out for the day’s work on November 8, 2022, Feibei Lokoson, a resident of the Federal Capital Territory, received disturbing debit transaction messages from Zenith Bank, which amounted to N640,000.
Lokoson narrated to FIJ that the first SMS was a N100,000 debit alert and as he was trying to check his mobile app to ascertain how it happened, he got couple of other debit alerts.
Lokoson said that as questionable transaction notifications were coming in, he was increasingly perturbed and hoped to be quickly attended to at the Gwarinpa branch of his bank. But the early attention sought did not come until the fraudster got away with N640,000.
Lokoson said, “On November 8, 2022, by 10:18 am, I got the first alert of N100,000. I started checking what this alert was about. Suddenly, within another minute, I got another one. So I logged in to my bank app to change my password and pin. Then I got another one.”
“I emailed Zenith Bank, and they said they had restricted my account. I later went to their Gwarinpa branch, as it was the nearest to me. While on the banking premises, I told them of the situation and they insisted that I join the queue. I said it was an emergency and I needed my account blocked.
“While talking to the security guard to allow me in, I got another alert and shouted louder, but I was thrown out of the bank by guards.”
The Abuja resident said it was a banker who saw him outside that told him to dial the bank’s USSD code: *966#. However, the USSD attempt did not work out.
“The banker then requested my account details and went inside the banking hall to deactivate my account. He came back to inform he had had successfully blocked my account. This put my mind at rest and left.”
Lokoson said he sent emails to and visited the bank many times on the same issue “for a detailed investigation to unravel what made it possible for the cyber thief to withdraw my N640,000 in the first place, but nothing to show for it two months after.”
FIJ observed from the screenshots of the debit alerts that the money was wired to some Palmpay accounts, and one of the recipents was ‘Yusuf Bamidele Raufu’.
“After emailing every now and then,” Lukoson said, “I stopped going to their bank. However, I went back on January 12 and told them to transfer the remaining funds in my Zenith to my GT Bank account.”
To his utter surprise, the money deposit bank told him that the remaining funds had also left his account.
“I asked how it was even possible that an inactive account could still be operated,” he said.
“As we speak, I am still confused because the bank told me on November 8 that they had deactivated my account. I did all I could to make them come to my rescue, yet they made me more helpless. I think it is now difficult to take banks’ words.”
When FIJ called the bank on Thursday, Emmanuel, a customer service specialist, asked this reporter to visit a branch to get a proper response to his inquiry.
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