Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) appears to have become the financial institution of choice for fraudsters, as they target account holders at the bank run by Miriam Olusanya, the chief executive.
According to Ripples Nigeria, customers of GTBank, a subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), say they have experienced fraudulent and suspicious withdrawals from their accounts, which mostly happens on Fridays and weekends.
Fraudsters Target GTBank Accounts, Victims Lament Losses
One such situation was experienced by paint maker and exterior housing decorator, Oyeyemi Oluwatobi, whose account with GTBank was allegedly hacked as a suspected fraudster withdrew around 700,000 Naira from his account.
It was found that his account was first debited with 450,000 Naira and transferred to an Ojo Jeremiah account held at Sparkle Bank, while 249,900 Naira was transferred to a Sporty Internet Limited account within minutes on Saturday after- noon January 22, 2022.
More than eight months after the alleged fraud on Oyeyemi’s account, he has yet to recover his funds, as GTBank failed to resolve the situation within the 60-day period stipulated by the CBN in its circular of December 20, 2019.
“I went to the bank to file a complaint and was told that the money had been transferred to SPARKLE BANK with the name of the account; OJO JEREMIAH and after asking what was to be done, the branch manager advised me to fetch a policeman and go to the other bank to file a complaint. Oyeyemi told Ripples Nigeria.
His situation is one of many as 15,024 suspected cases of fraud were recorded in GTBank in 2021, with over N1.21m of customer funds affected, compared to N1.35m involved in 17,310 cases reported in 2020, according to the lender’s financial statements. submitted to the authorities.
While the numbers appear to be falling, the actual/expected loss is increasing with some customers losing N511,962 last year, exceeding the loss of N174,402 recorded in 2020.
This means that in one month, Oyeyemi lost more than the total amount GTBank said his clients lost in 2021. However, he is not alone in this situation, as other GTBank account holders have also fell victim to fraudsters who saw GTBank accounts as an easy target.
Ripples Nigeria has noticed that fraudulent or unauthorized debits from GTBank client accounts occur on Fridays or weekends, making it difficult for victims to seek redress immediately at the nearest branch of the lender until Monday. – giving fraudsters a two-day window to disappear with the funds.
A Twitter user, identified as Simpleppearls, had publicly accused GTBank of a fraudulent debit that occurred on her accounts on Friday, April 1, 2022, the same day she received her salary.
It was discovered that within five minutes of paying his salary, “#102,800 was withdrawn from my account to an account of Ibukun Ademola”. Pearl further explained that all she heard when GTBank customer service was called was music.
“A transaction that I did not initiate. How do I pay my bills and survive? I’m so devastated right now, how can I survive with a child, how can I take care of the people I promised to pay by the end of the month? How can I survive this. she lamented at the time, adding that GTBank sent her a letter, apparently informing Pearl that there was “nothing they can do,” she revealed on her Twitter page.
Six months ago, GTBank was accused of shielding one of its employees who allegedly stole around 600,000 naira from a Lagos-based trader, Ngozi Njoku, after helping her with her banking application at the branch. ‘Company Egbe, Lagos State Foundation for Investigative Journalism had reported.
Anonymous staff allegedly asked for his private information, such as card and PIN, disguised to help with the banking app during Njoku’s visit to upgrade the daily transfer limit on his account on March 18, 2022, which also fell on a Friday.
N600,000 was allegedly fraudulently deducted from his account the following day, which happened to be a Saturday – reflecting a trend among fraudsters and victims of the fraud that occurred at GTBank – despite the police requesting the bank to provide the staff, the bank reportedly said its head office was against presenting the accused employee.
Financial sanctions against GTBank and other banks that fail to meet CBN’s resolution schedule
According to the Customer Protection Circular issued by CBN, the banking sector regulator, in December 2019, failure to resolve customer complaints, within the time prescribed by the apex bank, attracts N500,000 per complaint per week. as long as the violations persist.
Further, “Failure to acknowledge customer complaints or issue tracking numbers – N2,000,000.00 per complaint.
“Non-response to request or non-compliance with the CBN directive – A penalty of N2,000,000.00.
“False or non-return of returns/reports – NI00,000.00, and in addition, NI0,000 for each day the violation continues.” stipulated the CBN circular.
At the time of filing this report, GTBank has not responded to email inquiries from Brand Spur Nigeria about alleged fraudulent activity experienced by its customers at the time of this report.