A suspected fraudster identified as Zakarriyah Yahaya, aka His Excellency, has revealed how he and his gang target two Nigerian banks to clear customers accounts by using lost or stolen SIM cards.
The fraudster said they are most interested in First Bank and Access Bank because they are easy to reset.
The 46-year-old Yahaya made the confession when he was paraded alongside 39 suspects for various crimes at the Headquarters of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Abuja by the Nigerian Police.
The fraudster explained that the bank accounts of many Nigerians receiving alerts are easy to access by using their account and phone numbers.
The suspects were arrested across the country by the Force Investigation Bureau of Intelligence Response Team (IRT) led by Tunji Disu, who recently took over from crack detective, Abba Kyari.
Speaking on his alleged criminal activities, the fraudster said:
”My name is Zakarriyah Yahaya, I was born and brought up in Jos. I was arrested last month in Mabushi here in Abuja. I used to reset any SIMs that receive bank alert. I will reset it and steal all the money inside the bank account, the suspect told reporters on Monday,” he said.
”I do reset it with victim’s bank account number through bank code from the first to the last number. Any bank that we get, we first use it to buy recharge card, from there, they will send us the alert. From the alert, we will now get the account number.”
According to Yahaya, his gang started the job in the last two years and no fewer than eleven members of the gang are working for him, adding that they are operating in three main cities of Kano, Plateau and Abuja.
The fraudster said he could not recall the exact numbers of bank accounts they’d stolen from but they had once removed N800,000 from one of the accounts.
The force spokesman, Frank Mba who paraded the suspects before newsmen explained that the criminals do acquire SIM packs in large numbers and re-activate old phone numbers people have abandoned and explore any bank account’s details.
”Yahaya Zakari controls multiple gangs of cyber crooks whose talk-in-trade is to go after SIM cards, phone numbers of innocent Nigerians, breaking into their privacy, steal their banks’ IDs, and steal monies from the accounts,” Mba said.
”They have two main modus operandi. The first is to go and purchase or acquire MTN lines, the new starter kits in large numbers. When they get these, they tried to hack BVN.
”Experience has shown them that at this stage, some of our service providers are recycling old numbers. Persons who had used phones and probably for some reasons have travelled out of the country, or for any other reason chose not to use the number again, and those numbers are dormant and currently being recycled and being re-issued to persons as new numbers.
”They are very skilful and they have ways of knowing or decoding old numbers. So, when they put on their MTN starter packs, and they are given options to select numbers, they select old numbers, and at random, they tried to explore and see if they could get bank details from those old numbers. That is their first modus,” Mba said.
According to Mba, the criminals also do attack their victims physically, collect their phones and target their SIM, adding that they are not interested in the phones but the SIM cards.
Mba Nigerians to guide their phones jealously to prevent being victims of raging fraudsters like Yahaya.