A First City Monument Bank (FCMB) client named George Braide, who holds an account with the bank at the Aba Road by GRA branch in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is requesting a reimbursement of the N7 million that was digitally stolen from his account within three days.
Due to an ongoing police investigation, the bank customer, who chose to remain anonymous, stated that he first realized his MTN phone line was no longer functional on a Saturday early in July 2022. He then proceeded to an MTN service center to file a complaint.
After reporting the phone blockade incident to the MTN headquarters, Braide, a 60-year-old retiree, was informed that his phone had no problems that could have justified the blockade. His phone was then unlocked.
As he walked to his car after unlocking the phone, texts began to arrive. From Saturday morning when his phone first rang, there were several transfers to Opay accounts, binge purchases, and various withdrawals from his account.
Then, the climax—possibly while he was at the MTN office on Monday morning—was the transfer of N4 million from the account. Between Saturday morning and Monday, N7 million total was taken out of the account that holds his retirement benefits.
The introduction of technology, which appears to have altered the country’s banking industry in an effort to catch up with its peers across the world, has generated problems and has always made it simple for consumer money to vanish from their accounts.
In the past, banks only needed to lock the money in very safe vaults. Reaching them was always difficult because they were protected by various metallic obstacles and human guards.
They would frequently target bank tellers or attempt to force the branch manager to lead them to the vault because of this. Even in this case, banks frequently took steps to make it a difficult process.
All of that has changed in the digital age, where thieves are able to get into financial institutions’ computer systems to access the virtual versions of the good, old vaults and move huge sums of money that would have made bank robbers of yore envious.
Then, after hearing other people complain, he started to wonder if something had gone wrong with the connection between his phone line and his national identity number, leading to its suspension.
He could still make calls and contact individuals through WhatsApp, so there was no motivation for an urgent correction. He postponed going to an MTN office to learn what was wrong with his phone line until early Monday morning.