How Criminals Take Over PoS Business

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Rarzack Olaegbe


The customer asked if she could transfer N50,000 to the operator’s account. Yes, the party agreed. She initiated the cash transfer. She did not authorise the transfer. The customer left. In addition, the operator waited until the following day. The transfer did not arrive.


Crime is expensive. Very expensive. Research has shown that the financial losses from theft exceed $50 billion per year. If you add what businesses spend to prevent losses, then that amount would double. You cannot prevent crime.

You can only reduce it. But if you recognize how criminals might target your business, you should stop them. For instance, criminals target businesses that handle a large amount of cash.

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On The One Hand

That explains why the point of sales (PoS) dealership has become attractive to criminals. Many victims of PoS fraud were in the media recently. This trend is on the surge in Lagos. As the PoS business becomes ubiquitous, so is its vulnerability. The Pos offers quicker payment options to millions of customers everywhere. Now the story is different.

According to media reports, the story has turned sour. Customers are fleecing the operators and operators are doing likewise. There seems to be no end in sight. Recently, a customer who had difficulty withdrawing from her ATM card duped a Pos operator in Lagos. The operator was victimised because she played the fool. She paid the customer N50, 000 cash because the system had declined the customer’s ATM card.

The customer asked if she could transfer N50,000 to the operator’s account. Yes, the party agreed. She initiated the cash transfer. She did not authorise the transfer. The customer left. In addition, the operator waited until the following day. The transfer did not arrive.

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The business owner then called the customer. Her heart sank! The customer line does not have the facility to receive a call!

In another scenario, a customer had made some purchases at a convenience store. He could not recall where because he made several stops. And paid with his ATM card. Therefore, he got the message when the debit alerts trickled in like a drizzle over three days. He was in a lion’s den.

The Pos fraudster had hoodwinked him. From N200, 000 his bank account had dwindled to N2,000. He complained to his bank. His bank cannot help him. He is on his own.

On the other hand

The same story emerged in other states. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spokesperson, Osita Nwanisobi, said the position of the apex bank on consumer protection remained the same. The apex bank advises customers to allow deposit money banks to resolve their complaints within two weeks.

Having lodged your complaint and your bank fails to engage you and resolve the complaint within two weeks, as provided for in the ATM Help Desk Circular, “you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the CBN. To resolve the matter, if you are a victim, send an email to cpd@cbn.gov.ng or contactcbn@cbn.gov.ng or call +234 7002255226.

Hmm, the state police command, Benjamin Hundeyin, described PoS fraud as part of bigger crimes. “I don’t have details of people convicted over PoS fraud. We have cases that have PoS usage. We do not have a category that strictly deals with PoS fraud. PoS fraud is a part of bigger crimes which are supposed to be focused on.”

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From the sideline

That is the official statement.

Can you give me the unofficial statement, please?

Protect yourself.

How can I do that, please?

Whenever you have dealings with the Pos operators, ask the operator to hand over the machine to you. Once you have the machine, press the “clear” button.

Why is that?

The button clears your data from that Pos machine. That is not expensive to do, is it?

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