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Data breach: Wema Bank opening illegal, unsolicited ALAT accounts for consumers

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Wema Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s struggling financial institutions is in the news again for the wrong reasons as some customers of the bank have accused the lender of conducting illegal banking practices in the country.

They said they discovered that the bank and its agents had allegedly been opening unauthorized accounts for customers with information or data in the bank’s possession.

The financial institution, led by Ademola Adebise, has allegedly been opening accounts for some Nigerians on its digital banking platform, ALAT, without their knowledge or consent in a bid to celebrate its 5th anniversary.

While the actual number of unauthorized accounts opened on behalf of unsuspecting Nigerians is unknown, Wema Bank was aiming to achieve “a million accounts in one day”.

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Wema Bank, in a mail, claimed the unauthorized accounts were opened for certain persons “to celebrate with us” despite not informing them ahead or receiving approval to create the accounts.

This illegal banking practice is similar to that of Wells Fargo, a United State bank, which was accused of opening 1.5 million accounts without authorization, with over 565,000 credit cards applied for, allegedly without customers’ consent.

About 5,300 employees at Wells Fargo were sacked for opening the illegal accounts, and the company was fined $185 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the United States.

The unauthorized Wells Fargo accounts were only uncovered by the affected persons when the accounts started accumulating debt from bank charges on the unsuspecting individuals.

Just as the sacked Wells Fargo employees were said to have indulged in fraudulently opening sham accounts to beat target, Wema Bank vendors and marketers may have used the same strategy to achieve the lender’s anniversary target.

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That Wema Bank is expected to also place a financial burden on the unsuspecting persons through account maintenance costs, from which the lender generated about N2.10 million last year, surpassing N1.24 million in 2020.

Recently, Mental Health Advocate, Adebayo Tayo, took to his Twitter account to publicly accuse Wema Bank of opening an account in his name without authorization from him.

Tayo lamented that he never knew he had a new Wema Bank account until his mother contacted him because she received an alert that was intended for him – shocking, how come he owns an account he’s unaware of, and his mom receives the alert.

“I am concerned about how my info had been used by Wema Bank and I need detailed explanations about the account including every transaction it has performed before someone uses my details for an account to launder money or collect ransom, he stated.

Following a probe into Tayo’s claim, this newspaper discovered he was not the only one whose identity was used by the financial institution, to open accounts on its digital banking platform, ALAT, without the knowledge or consent of the individuals.

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Another affected Nigerian is Oyenike Ojo, whose name was used to open an account. However, when money was sent to the account, the alert details showed another name, Oluseyi Bamgboyi as account owner – which means two different names seem to have been used to open one account.

Ojo’s husband said something was shady about the account, “What I said is, the current name on the account number in my screenshots is not my wife’s name. If you look at that screenshot, the account was opened with my wife’s name and a new account number.

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“She also got a credit alert notification via SMS with the new account number. This shows that her details were used to open that account. However, I tried to do a transfer to that account this morning when I read the news only to see that the account name is Oluseyi Bamgboye and not Oyenike Ojo (which is my wife’s name). Something is definitely fishy”, he explained to Ripples Nigeria.

Ojo said his wife has an account with Wema Bank which she hasn’t used for about seven years, and the new account created in her name doesn’t seem to carry the same number as her old account.

He stressed that the unauthorized accounts opened are “definitely an inside job.”, stating, “Customer’s details are compromised and they are being used to open new accounts. Whether by marketers so as to meet targets of the number of accounts opened, or for money laundering, I can’t tell.”

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Ojo asked for an investigation into the illegal accounts opened by Wema Bank, saying the situation is questionable, “How Oyenike Ojo’s savings account opened without her permission has now become Oluseyi Bamgboye’s account is definitely questionable.” Ojo said, expressing his worry.

Another name used to open an unauthorized account, Abimbola Fakoyejo, disclosed that he was still wondering about his unused account on ALAT when he saw a message notifying him that an account has been opened in his name.

Wema Bank also did not immediately respond to our inquiry on the matter.

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Crime

OPC arrests two for stealing machine in Lagos

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Theheute-

Members of the Oodua People’s Congress, on Monday, arrested two men who allegedly stole a vulcanising machine from a store at Mile 12, in the Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The Chief Security Officer of the Gani Adams-led faction of the OPC, Rotimi Obayemi, that the suspects confessed to stealing the machine after it was found with them.

He identified the suspects as Sanni Aminu, 30, and Ibrahim Salisu, 29.

Obayemi said, “I was called by the OPC chairman who told me that they had caught two thieves. On arrival, I interrogated the suspects in Hausa because they did not understand English. They both confessed that they broke into a store at Underbridge, Mile 12, and stole the machine.”

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Aminu, who claimed to be a wheelbarrow pusher at the Mile 12 Market, said, “I accompanied my brother last night. I didn’t know that he was going to steal the machine.”

The Lagos State Chairman, OPC, Okanlomo Adeniyi, said the police had been informed of the incident and that the suspects and the stolen machine would be handed over to the authorities.

Okanlomo said, “We have reported the case to the Ikeja division of the police command; they are on their way. We will hand over the suspects and the stolen machine to them when they get here.”

He noted that the case would be monitored to ensure that the machine was returned to its owner.

As of the time of filing this report, attempts to speak to the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, were unsuccessful.

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BREAKING: Kidnap kingpin, Evans, sentenced to 21 years imprisonment

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Kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, and his co-defendant, Victor Aduba, have been sentenced to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping one Sylvanus Hafia.

The sentence was issued by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday.

Both convicts had been accused of conspiring and kidnapping Sylvanus Ahanonu Hafia at about 5:30 pm on June 23, 2014, at Kara Street, Amuwo Odofin in Lagos.

After succeeding with the abduction, they demanded $2 million as ransome.

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Pleading not guilty, Justice Taiwo proceeded with the sentence on the grounds that it would serve as a deterrent to other aspiring kidnappers.

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Flutterwave accused of data breach, unauthorise access to customer account (Photos)

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An investigative journalist and Twitter lord, David Hundeyin, has again attacked Flutterwave over data breach and unathourised access to his inactive Barter account, a lifestyle payments solution by the company.

This won’t be the first time Hundeyin would be dragging the fintech company. Recall that Freelanews reports how Flutterwave’s CEO was being investigated over allegations of financial misconduct as a result of an exclusive report by the controversial journalist.

In a series of post on his Twitter handle, Hundeyin claimed his account was logged into and threatened the platform of serious consequences if any fraud is perpetrated by impersonating him.

“Hi @theflutterwave. I have sent an email requesting immediate deactivation of my inactive Barter account.

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“Someone has somehow gained access to that account without hacking my email which is impossible without an internal data breach from your end,” he wrote.

whatsapp image 2022 09 14 at 4.38.12 pm (1)

whatsapp image 2022 09 14 at 4.38.12 pm

While analysing the break-in, the journalist explained that his username was messed with.

“The person logged into my Barter account which is paired to a Wema Bank account linked to my BVN (which is viewable under the ‘security’ tab), and changed the name on the account.

“I cannot begin to describe the amount of trouble you are in if any fraud is carried out in my name,” he submitted.

whatsapp image 2022 09 14 at 4.38.31 pm

whatsapp image 2022 09 14 at 4.38.31 pm (1)

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