Protection Against Online Frauds

by: Abdulkabir Anumashaun


1. Phishing:

Phishing is the fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, Personal Identification Number (PIN) and debit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy company in an electronic communication.

Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail, text message(SMS) or instant messaging (yahoo chat, hotmail chat etc), and it often direct users to enter details on a fake websites that are almost identical (or sometimes identical) to the legitimate company.

The email is delivered to one’s inbox usually with the legitimate company’s email address (e.g. This is achieved by using a technique called spoofing.

E-mail spoofing is a term used to describe fraudulent e-mail activity in which the sender address and other parts of the e-mail header are altered to appear as though the e-mail originated from a different source. This is achieved by changing certain properties of the e-mail, such as the ‘From’, ‘Return-Path’ and ‘Reply-To fields’ (which can be found in the message header), ill-intentioned users can make the e-mail appear to be from someone other than the actual sender. The result is that, although the e-mail appears to have originated from the address indicated in the ‘From’ field (found in the e-mail headers) it actually comes from a fraudulent source. This is similar to forging the letter head paper of another company.

2. Counterfeit Card Fraud:

This form of card fraud takes place when a card is printed, embossed or encoded without a card issuer’s permission.

Most cases of counterfeit fraud involves the process know as skimming where the original data on a card’s magnetic stripe is copied onto another card without the legitimate cardholder’s knowledge.

In order to avoid your card being skimmed – BE VIGILANT. Never let your card out of your sight while paying for goods and services at any merchant location.

3. Card-not-present (CNP) fraud:

This form of card fraud is committed mostly over the internet.

Card details are gotten through the theft of card details such as PIN number, card number and expiry date from discarded receipts or by copying your card details when carrying out a transaction.

# Protecting Yourself Against Fraud

Protecting yourself can be as simple as keeping your eyes and ears open. Here are some steps to help keep your card information secure.

A. Use Alerts

Some banks currently offer the option of receiving transaction alerts either on your mobile phone or email. This keeps you updated and on top of all your card activity or transactions.

InterSwitch has also gone a step further to include an automated card deactivation feature, meaning if you suspect that your card is being used fraudulently, this feature ensures the card is automatically blocked or deactivated. In other words, when an alert is received about a transaction you clearly did not initiate (or you are not sure of) you can block your card immediately by replying the text message.

Please ask your bank today for more information on MoneyGuard.

B. CARD & PIN Safety – DOs & DONTs

* DO

o Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

o Protect your debit, cash or Verve cards as if they were cash.

o MEMORIZE your PIN - Never write down your PIN.

o Ensure you change your PIN regularly at the ATM.

o Ensure that you get your card back after every purchase either at a shop using a POS or at the ATM.

o Ensure you keep copies of your vouchers and ATM receipts


o Leave your ATM receipts at the point of withdrawal.

o Lend anyone your debit card. You are solely responsible for its use. (Some debit card misuse can be traced directly to family and friends)

o Ever use your PIN as a password.

o Ever disclose your PIN to ANYONE.

o Ever disclose your PIN to;

o Your Bank

o InterSwitch

o The Telco’s ( e.g. Zain, MTN, Etisalat, Glo, Starcomms etc)

o The Police

o Shop owner

o Any company OR Person for whatever reason

Please note that no one should ask for your PIN.


C. Using the ATM Safely

Using your InterSwitch ATM card is a convenient and safe way to get cash. Just be sure to keep in mind the following safety tips:

o Be vigilant

Avoid using ATMs in lowly lit or dark areas.

o Guard your pin

Guard your P IN

always, always use your free hand to cover the keys as your PIN is being entered.

o Be on the lookout for any suspicious actions, cancel all transactions and leave if you are suspicious of individuals around.

o Do not leave ATM receipts behind

Never leave your ATM receipts behind; your debit card details can be copied.

o Do not accept help from strangers

Never accept help from strangers.

D. Online safety

It is important to apply extra caution while on the internet.

Never send your PIN or card details in the body of an email.

Beware of emails asking for your PIN and card details they are false.

Before initiating online transactions be sure that the website has adequate security features to protect your debit card information.

Check InterSwitch web merchant partner list/page for the list of registered and certified merchants that are safe to purchase items from.

BEWARE of emails generally appearing to be from InterSwitch, your Bank or a Telecoms company either stating an upgrade on the network or requesting your PIN to claim prizes in a non existing ( or sometimes existing) promo. These emails are bogus; these companies will NEVER ask for your card details either for any upgrade or before you redeem prizes. BEWARE!

Avoid using public computer to shop online i.e. Cybercafé.

E. Text message.

* Ignore all text messages or SMS informing you that you have won a prize and you should go to the ATM to claim it.

They are different gimmicks of fraudsters and are not genuine.

* Never give your ATM card details or account information to anyone claiming to be from your bank OR Telecoms in order for you to redeem prizes.