A report by The Guardian indicates that the surge in Point of Sale (PoS) machine usage across Nigeria, fostered by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policies aimed at financial inclusion, has encountered a significant setback due to the alarming rise in fraudulent activities.
While PoS systems initially revolutionized banking accessibility, the nefarious actions of scammers have cast a shadow over their utility, causing hesitancy among users.
Since the advent of CBN’s agent banking policy in 2013, the PoS mechanism rapidly transformed financial landscapes, providing unbanked individuals access to banking services and spawning employment opportunities through its widespread adoption.
Initially lauded for its convenience, the PoS system allowed users to withdraw funds at minimal commissions, circumventing the hassles of distant Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and lengthy bank queues.
It facilitated multiple transactions, including bill payments, airtime purchases, and utility payments, significantly benefiting small-scale businesses and decongesting traditional banking halls.
However, recent reports highlight the nefarious tactics deployed by unscrupulous PoS operators.
Another victim of PoS fraud, Agnes Achie, wept bitterly when her bank account was hacked. She had visited a PoS point to withdraw N30,000 and after the withdrawal, she began to receive multiple debit alerts from her bank.
She said: “I wept like a baby when my account officer informed me that the alerts were not from the bank and that my account must have been hacked.”
Madam Oladimeji, a victim of a mobile PoS fraud, lost N100,000 at the Ijora fish market, warning individuals to exercise caution when engaging itinerant PoS operators.
Her words: “I directed her to transfer N100,000 to my customer. While I was still standing with her, the money was transferred. But when I got to my customer, I discovered that the money did not get to him.
“I was worried and went back to the spot where I met the PoS operator only to find out that the lady was no longer there. The search party put up by some concerned people around achieved nothing; there was no trace of her.”
In a revealing twist, PoS operators also fell prey to fraudulent customers. Tofeeq Animashaun, a PoS operator, recounted an incident where a customer purportedly conducted a failed transaction, ultimately tricking the operator into transferring funds to the customer’s account.
The surge in PoS fraud has led to increased distrust in the system, deterring users from engaging in substantial transactions for fear of losing their hard-earned money.
Citizens have expressed concerns about compromised security networks, urging the government to fortify security measures to combat these malpractices.
Joseph Amuda, a former bank manager, emphasized the pivotal role of banks in mitigating PoS fraud. He detailed the bank’s process of addressing complaints and urged Nigerians to promptly report incidents, highlighting the importance of customer collaboration in combating fraudulent activities.