How to Stop Loan Apps from Accessing Your Bank Account or Money in the Bank Account

    Have you ever noticed strange deductions from your bank account that you did not authorize? Do you sometimes see money mysteriously moving out of your account without your consent or approval?

     If yes, then you may have fallen victim to unauthorized access by predatory loan apps. With the growth of fintech in Nigeria, several loan apps have cropped up promising quick loans with flexible repayment terms. 

    However, many of these apps are not properly regulated and may exploit legal loopholes to access customers’ bank accounts without permission in order to debit repayments or penalties.

     In this very detailed article, we will explain in great depth how these unauthorized access happens through various sneaky techniques. 

    We will also provide very effective step-by-step processes to stop loan apps from having the ability to access your money without consent in Nigeria. Ensuring you fully protect yourself from this issue.  

    How Loan Apps Gain Unauthorized Access to Bank Accounts

    There are a few sneaky methods through which these unscrupulous loan apps are able to fraudulently debit money from customers’ bank accounts without consent in Nigeria:

    Obtaining Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) Fraudulently

    Some loan apps trick customers into willingly providing their confidential BVN during the online loan application process under the false pretense of properly identifying and authenticating the applicant. 

    They may claim verifying the BVN is mandatory part of “Know Your Customer” regulations. 

    However, the real intention is to misuse the captured BVN, which is the single-identifier linking an individual to all their bank accounts. 

    With possession of the BVN, these rogue apps are then able to use special tools to secretly link the applicant’s bank account, and by extension facilitate future unauthorized debits, without seeking the customer’s authorization solely for the purpose of illegal deductions.

    Accessing Linked Third-Party Accounts 

    Several fraudulent loan apps additionally insist that applicants must connect additional banking accounts, online wallets or virtual cards from other financial institutions during account registration on their platform. They provide the deceptive explanation that these extra third-party funding accounts are urgently required for the purpose of loan disbursement into upon approval. 

    Unwitting users therefore end up freely offering these loan apps access to other financial links. Nevertheless, the real reason for coercing users into enabling these linkages turns out to be to illicitly leverage the added accounts behind the scenes to later debit repayment amounts without the customer’s awareness or permission.

    Bypassing Two-Factor Authentication

    Through exploiting technical vulnerabilities existing on users’ devices or in collusion with accomplices working inside the banks, some unscrupulous loan apps have devised means to surreptitiously circumvent the industry-standard two-factor authentication process, which normally requires input of OTP or biometric before fully registering new bank accounts

    By discreetly sidestepping this additional security layer during the registration phase, these fraudulent platforms are conveniently able to directly interface with and perform unofficial transactions on the customers’ linked bank accounts without the knowledge or go-ahead of the account holder. This grants them carte blanche to debit any sums at their whims.

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    How to Stop Loan Apps from Accessing Your Bank Account or Money in the Bank Account

    Now that we have an in-depth understanding of the intricate techniques employed by these bad actors to perpetrate unauthorized access, here are some effective step-by-step processes to prevent loan apps from fraudulently deducting money from your bank account without consent:

    Remove All Linked Accounts

    The very first crucial step is for the user to promptly log in to their bank account profile and meticulously inspect all third-party organizational links that may have been established. This involves verifying every single entry under the “linked accounts” section to identify any suspicious authorizations to loan apps. Once spotted, the user must immediately take the drastic action of permanently deleting such linkages to completely sever the access route exploited by these fraudulent platforms to facilitate unlawful debits. 

    Deregister from Suspicious Loan Apps

    The customer then needs to log in to the interface of any loan app accounts where they may have registered in the past. Here, they must specifically send a clear written request to be completely deregistered and have their registration details including captured BVN, contacts, device identifiers and other personal information permanently erased from the platform’s customer database.

     It is imperative to obtain a response email from these apps confirming the requested deregistration and data wipe have been thoroughfully executed. This eliminates the ability to misuse captured customer data going forward.  

    Freeze Your BVN

    The next major step is for the customer to directly contact their bank branch either in-person or through authenticated telephone lines to notify the bank of the current situation and formally request the emergency freezing of their BVN. Bank compliance officers would then initiate requisite processes at the backend to tag the presented BVN as “frozen”, which makes it impossible for any third-party financial service including predatory loan apps to attempt linking that BVN to any other accounts without the account owner’s explicit permission. This provides additional firewall against potential BVN misuse.

    Monitor Bank Statements Diligently

    Even with the above prevention measures, customers must remain vigilant and manually verify their bank transaction logs and statements with high frequency and focus for any unfamiliar debits. 

    The dates covered in each review must include adequate historical periods in case of any past unauthorized deductions. Detection of any unrecognized debits means prompt escalation to both the bank and regulators through officially logged complaints for investigation and necessary refund processes.  

    Change Online Banking Access Credentials  

    It is also prudent as a last layer of safety to change all online banking access credentials like login passwords, PIN, token secrets and security questions/answers that could potentially be exploited by any hacking of linked systems. Customers must refresh access to internet banking, mobile apps as well as any email or phone number flags registered with their bank accounts. This helps boost defense against any ongoing attempts to breach account security.

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    File an Official Complaint

    A final recourse is to comprehensively lodge formal complaints against the erring loan platforms through grievance redress mechanisms of regulators like CBN, NCC, FCCPC and even law enforcement bodies when needed, to instigate thorough investigations and deterrence against future recurrences. Documentary evidence of customer experience, loss details, platform interaction histories would aid the examination and pursuit of necessary restitutions.

    Conclusion

    By conscienciously following these elaborated steps, customers can decisively prevent unauthorized access to their bank accounts and shield their hard-earned funds from unlawful plundering by any nefarious loan app. However, to fundamentally avoid such undesirable situations, it is always advisable not to freely divulge personal identification or financial data to unknown entities before ascertaining their legitimacy and bonafides. With an ecosystem of vigilant citizens supported by more proactive monitoring and sanctions on malpractices by regulators, the activities of criminal loan platforms can be sustainably curtailed over time.

    FAQ

    How do I stop my loan app from deducting money from my account?

    Below are the steps you can take to stop a loan app from making unauthorized deductions from your bank account

    • Contact the loan app directly and revoke your authorization for them to debit your account. Follow up with a written letter or email.
    • Call your bank or credit union and inform them that you have revoked authorization for the loan app to debit your account. Your bank may have a form for this.
    • Consider placing a stop payment order with your bank to block the loan app from making further withdrawals. There may be a fee for this.
    • Monitor your account closely and immediately report any unauthorized withdrawals to your bank. You have the right to dispute and get refunded for any debits made after you revoked authorization.
    • If the loan app continues harassing you or your contacts, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or your state attorney general.

    Keep in mind that revoking the automatic payments does not cancel your loan contract. You still owe the balance and will need to make payments through other means

    How do I delete my details from the loan app?

    To delete your personal details from a loan app, you can take the following steps:

    • Contact the loan app’s customer support and request the permanent deletion of your account and all associated personal data. Provide your full name and registered information (email, phone number) in the request.
    • If contacting support is difficult, submit a formal written request to delete your account and data. Include your name, registered details, and a clear statement requesting permanent deletion. Send this via email or registered mail to the app’s contact address.
    • Check if the app’s privacy policy outlines a data deletion procedure under the Philippines Data Privacy Act (DPA). You may need to follow the DPA guidelines to request data removal.
    • As a last resort, you can try clearing the app’s cache and storage data on your device to remove your information from the app’s local database.

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