Testimony of a USSD Fraud Victim

This is a verified account by one of my avid readers who got his bank account sabotaged when he misplaced his mobile phone.

After reading his account, you will see my analysis of the strategy that was used to defraud him and the reason why you need to always secure your phone and sim card with a pin.

His account;

I was a victim of these fraudsters last month, on the 10th of June 2020.

My phone (Nokia torch) fell from my pocket inside a tricycle and I didn’t know until 30 minutes later.

***So I quickly called my phone and the person that picked up my call promised to give me my phone the next day morning. (Please take note of this sentence)

So I went to meet a customer that same evening and after everything, he then dropped me at my place and transferred N2K into account immediately.

So since I had my android phone with me, I now decided to check my Bank App to know if he had transferred the money since I couldn’t get the alert (the Nokia phone is my alert number) only for me to discover that this fraudster had withdrawn all the money in my Bank account over an hour ago.

So I called my phone number and it was switched off. That was how I lost all the money in my account to a fraudster to the tune of N57, 500.

Broda, it is very pathetic but I thank God for everything.

Am just thinking how I can secure my Bank account better.

Though I have retrieved my MTN number now.

If there are other better ways one can secure this account, please let me know.

Regards to the entire family.

***… And again, I discovered that it was USSD the fraudsters used to transfer the money from my account to his personal bank account. (Please take note of this sentence)

Just to let you know. Take care!

From his account, it is obvious the phone and the sim card were not pin-locked. If he had pin-lock enabled on his sim card and phone respectively, the culprit would not have been able to gain access into his bank account.

This criminal did not want to take chances and that is why he did not switch off the phone. This is because, if the sim was pin-locked, switching off the phone is a failed mission for the culprit. That is why he (the culprit)answered the call to assure him (the victim) that he was going to return the phone. He was just using that as delay tactics, so that he (the victim) will not request for a sim block or contact his bank to disengage the number from his bank accounts.

If you lose a non-pin-locked phone and the sim card attached to your bank accounts, please inform your banks immediately by calling their customer care lines to disengage your phone number.

On the other hand, if pin-lock is enabled on both your phone and sim card linked to your bank accounts, just relax and go to the nearest office of your service provider to retrieve your sim card. So long as pin-lock is enabled on the sim card and the mobile phone, the criminal cannot access your bank accounts via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data). Any attempt to guess your sim card’s pin (if it is transferred to another mobile phone or if the phone is restarted) will temporarily lock the sim after three wrong tries and only the PUK (Personal Unblocking Key) can be used to re-open it.

Fund recovery can be very tedious and frustrating most times because banks and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria do not fully cooperate with victims.

Now you see why securing your phone and sim card with a pin is very important. It is better to “stay safe than sorry”.

The end.


Jovworie Tanshi

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