Customers have continued to accuse Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) of aiding an unauthorized withdrawal of funds from their accounts by an online sports betting platform, SportyBet Nigeria.
REPORTERS AT LARGE gathered that victims of the unauthorized fund withdrawals were not subscribers of the SportyBet Nigeria services, while some of them after lodging complaints to GTBank got some or full refund of the unauthorized withdrawn funds.
On visiting an online complaints platform, Complaints DB, REPORTERS AT LARGE confirmed that some customers banking with GTBank had lost monies to the betting platform through fraudulent withdrawals for unauthorized transactions on SportyBet Nigeria.
On 7th June 2021, Ejike Chukwualuka Geraldine wrote on the online complaints platform: “I lost the sum of 500k via my GTBANK account to SPORTYPAY, which I was hearing of for the first time. God bear me witness if GTBANK does not refund me my money and fish out the guy who did this to me, that bank will fold unless God doesn’t exist. People are complaining about this yet GTbank still approves payment for it. It is either Gtbank works hand in hand with them, but I’m sure something fishy is going on. Our money is no longer safe with GTBANK. I almost became suicidal. I suffered to save that money, and yet Gtbank staff treated me like an idiot”, it read in part.
In a related development, on 17th May 2021, another victim, also a GTBank customer, Stanley Ala Halliday lamented that the sum of One hundred and eighty-three thousand naira N183,000.00 was withdrawn from his account by Sportybet without his consent.
“The sum of One hundred and eighty-three thousand naira was hacked by someone from sporty bet organization. On the 14th of May last week. A number called me at +85665149020, immediately I picked the call the whole of my account was wiped within 10 seconds. Pls, I’m begging for something to be done. Please in the name of God”, the victim submitted.
Meanwhile, one of the latest victims of this development was a customer of the bank, Baruwa Oladayo Hassan, who has accused the Bodija, Ibadan branch of the bank of aiding an unauthorized withdrawal of N500,000.00 from his account by the betting company.
Baruwa in a chat with some journalists in Ibadan recently explained that he was at the GTBank branch located along UI-Ojoo road to make a transaction at its Automated Teller Machine (ATM) when he received two surprising debit alerts amounting to N500,000.
His words: “On Friday, July 2nd, 2021, I was at GTBank in front of the University of Ibadan main gate. I wanted to withdraw money from the ATM. While I was processing the transaction, I saw one OTP code (One-time password) sent to my phone, but I don’t know what it is all about, so I ignored it, and I continued with my transaction on the ATM. Surprisingly, a minute after I had made the withdrawal, still around the banking premises, I received an unauthorized debit alert of N100 first around 2:03 PM on Friday, with transaction details: – – PG-SP-ORT/PAY LANGSTAN 9999148678 , at the same spot, I got another debit alert of N499,900.00 instantly, also with transaction details: – -PG-SP ORTY/AY LANGSTAN 9999150119.”
He further explained that he rushed into the banking hall to complain but was treated shabbily by the branch manager and his customer service attendants.
“Since last week Friday (July 2nd, 2021), I am yet to get any good response from GTBank,” he lamented. “They cannot expect me to keep quiet; half a million naira isn’t a joke; this is unfair”.
The victim, a graduate of the University of Ibadan (UI) who operates a Business Centre in the city swore that he had no knowledge of betting and had never operated any account with any betting platform, including SportyBet Nigeria.
He disclosed: “I was amazed because that was not the transaction I made. I entered the banking hall immediately to register my complaint. I approached one of the staff, who checked the transaction on the system. He told me that the money was transferred to one SportyBet. In my life, I have never engaged in betting. So, when I told the staff to continue searching for the money, at least, since he had identified where the money entered.
“Another female staff later joined the staff, and they placed a call to one of the customer care representatives of SportyBet, and the person replied that it is only GTBank that can rectify it. But, the bank feels adamant and unconcerned about the development. The staff declared that the bank could not do anything about the unauthorized transaction. That was on Friday”.
Speaking further, the victim explained that around 5:06 PM on that same Friday, he received a credit alert of a N264.99 refund out of his N500,000. He said the refund transaction email reads: transaction details: |SportyPay refunded Paystack Finance Refund|||Paystack, but he was unable to return to the bank to give updates because it was late. The bank had already closed for the day.
Baruwa accused the bank of desperately trying to twist the story and blaming him for being reckless with his ATM card, to avoid taking responsibility for the loss.
He added: “Funny enough, the bank accused me of being careless with my ATM Card, suggesting that I might have used it with POS, which is not correct, I did not make use of POS in recent times. Immediately I got the debit alert I met with the staff and they asked for my ATM card and phone, which I do use to receive a transaction alert.
“Fortunately, my ATM Card and phone were with me, so I don’t know why they were telling lies that maybe I exposed my card carelessly”, he added.
When asked about the steps taken thus far, Baruwa said, “On Monday, I went to GTBank at UI main gate again to explain to the Manager what my experience was, but he told me that they cannot do anything on the issue. I am psychologically down. I am yet to get myself together as I am talking now because the money isn’t meant for me. On Tuesday, I also visited the bank.
“All that the Branch Manager could do was to refer me to the Operational Manager. They were just tossing me around as he (Operational Manager) directed me to go to the Police station and register my complaint. Immediately, I left the bank for Sango Police Station, where I met an officer who demanded that I pay a certain amount of money before he could embark on any investigation.
“I don’t have money to sort the officer. Please, I want a thorough investigation into this matter. I have been using the bank for over 10 years; I am even surprised that GTBank can do this to me. I know that the money is not safe at home; that was why I brought it to GTBank, and I gave them my trust. They have compromised the trust I gave them. Honestly, I now doubt the bank’s sincerity.
“I am bewildered that a reputable bank that is supposed to trace the unauthorized transaction which came with reference number failed to do the needful, only to apportion unnecessary blames. I expected GTBank to track the final destination of the money. At least from there, they can continue their investigations. But they wanted to shy away from their responsibility. People are now on my neck asking for their money. Where will I get the money to pay these people? I am just a graduate hustling to make a living through my Business Centre. I doubt if GTBank is trustworthy again”, he cried.
Warning fellow customers of the bank to be more vigilant and as well monitor their accounts regularly, he said: “For now, Nigerians need to be careful because we don’t know who is next. I have also heard and read similar nasty experiences, yet the bank has not been doing anything to curtail the situation. The fact is that our money is no longer safe with GTBank.
Continuing, the customer’s statement of account obtained on Tuesday, 13th July 2021, also established the unauthorized transactions.
Baruwa, however, called on the EFCC, CBN, human rights organizations, NGOs, Corporate Affairs Commissioners (CAC), among others to intervene in the matter. He also vowed to explore other legal means to have his money refunded.
Efforts made by REPORTERS AT LARGE to reach GTBank for comments were unsuccessful as at the time of filing in this report.
Meanwhile, Mr Ayobami Ladipo, who is said to be the spokesperson of the bank, when contacted yesterday (Tuesday), via his cellphone number and WhatsApp, promised to call back but has not done so as of the time of filing this report.