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Social Banking: How to Avoid Scam Comments

Opening bank account on Facebook is both innovative and revolutionary,

but one disturbing thing is the lack of gatekeeping the comments on the Facebook pages of banks in Nigeria. 

Fan page is now where cybercriminals spread their dubious adverts, post links to dubious sites, place adverts of impounded vehicles by customs, and other annoying comments.

A Facebook page of any banking institution is purposely meant to keep its followers updated about innovations and services; and to enable followers interact on its timeline. Social media banking has added to that-you can now open a bank account.
But comments posted by followers of these banks on their pages need painstaking moderation in order to reduce phishing scams spread by cybercriminals.
This article focuses on:

  • Meaning of Social Banking? 
  • Brief History of Social Banking 
  • Meaning of Gatekeeping 
  • Gatekeeping in Context of Social Banking 
  • Active users of facebook and why scammers target facebook users 
  • Examples of Scam Comments on Bank Fan Page
  • Scammers Tricks on Facebook Pages of Banks 
  • How to Avoid Scam on Bank Facebook Pages 
  • How Bank Can Limit Scam on Its Fan Page 
  • Important Gatekeeping Terms for Banks to note:
But first…
What is Social Banking?

Social banking is a way of providing financial services for those who have social media accounts in order to making account opening more convenient.
 It also involves promptly attending to the enquiries of existing customers and prospective ones thereby bringing banking closer to the people irrespective of geographical location, boundary, race, religion, and sex.
GT Bank’s social banking includes “customer service, account opening, account balance checking, airtime recharge, and money transfers.”
In a more research-oriented approach, Institute forSocial Banking says, “Social Banking depends on an ongoing and constructive dialogue of the people involved in and affected by its activities, as well as on a continuous reflection of their respective motives (why?), actions (what?) and approaches (how?).”
Simply put, social banking is a way of using social media to aid financial activities for banks and their customers.
Brief History of Social Banking

For more than four years now, banks have been tapping into the “possibilities” of using Facebook to win more customers. India ICICI Bank, and New Zealand ASB Bank are some of the frontrunners in social banking.
Social banking in Nigeriawas started by Guaranty Trust Bank when it announced that “from 15th of January, 2013, we’ll present a very convenient way to view your account balance, get airtime recharge, perform money transfers, pay bills, and open additional accounts, all on Facebook.”
As at April 11, 2013 GT Bank Facebook Page had over 1million likes. But the bank now has over 2million Facebook likes.
I believe its social banking has positively increased both its customer base and Facebook likes. 
If that’s interesting, I’ve got these for you:

  • How many time have you been annoyed by scam messages on the page of your favourite bank? 
  • Better still, how many times have you found fraudulent comments on the facebook timeline, or discussion of your bank?

Before I give you some of such phishing scam comments I found on the pages of some of Nigerian Banks’ Facebook Page, let’s take a look at the rationale behind gatekeeping.
What Is Gatekeeping
The term ‘gatekeeping’ is more than an apartment or industrial gate; more powerful than it sounds.

A social psychologist Kurt Lewinwas the first person to use the word “gatekeeping.”

He used gatekeeping to describe a mother or housewife who decides which foods the family eats.
White (1961)later modified gatekeeping toward journalism. So, in journalism, gatekeeping is a way of checking, cross-checking contents for all forms of errors so as to ensure that copies are in tune with the editorial policy.
Pamela and Tim also added academic flavor to it when they say, “gatekeeping is the process of culling and crafting countless bits of information into the limited number of messages that reach people everyday, and it is the centre of the media’s role in modern public life…”
Gatekeeping in the Context of Social Banking

Things have since changed!
Content regulation isn’t longer limited to journalism. Social media journalism cum student journalism have overtaken those believes, and that’s why it is highly imperative for a bank to have page administrator and social media manager to effectively manage its Facebook Page.
In the context of social banking, gatekeeping is a process by which comments on the pages of financial institutions can be sufficiently moderated so as to junk irrelevant posts.
This is to ensure that all comments within Facebook pages of banks are organized by level of importance so as to determine how much of comments gets published.
Scammers are always finding a breeding place. And good for them, Facebook has the population.
Statistics by the Newsroom of Facebook says the medium has:

  • 654 million mobile daily active users on average in June 2014 
  • 1.07 billion mobile monthly active users as of June 30, 2014 
  • 829 million daily active users on average in June 2014 
  • 1.32 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2014 
  • Approximately 81.7% of our daily active users are outside the US and Canada.

With that said, if you visit any of the Facebook pages of Nigerian banks, you’re sure of scam comments and adverts. In some cases, fraudulent comments are more than the comments related to the topic.

Examples of Scam Comments on Banking Facebook Pages
The number of scam messages posing as comments on the pages of Nigerian banks is numerous, but these are some of the samples of such scam messages found on their pages. 
GTBank in its timeline says, “He just bought airtime on Facebook using GTBank Social Banking. Use Social Banking Now!”
With just that phishing scam comments bombarded the “sales of land in Dominion Garden City, Oakwood park estate; time to make money by hooking up with a rich “sugar mummy and daddy”; pure clean herbal cure products etc”
GT Bank has the highest number of scam comments on its facebook page. And the reason is obvious: it has the most active and highest facebook followers in Nigeria.
Skye Banksays, “Take time to enjoy the last day of the work week. Welcome to a new month! Happy New Month!”
This wish prompted enquiries (like account opening, ATM and alert issues,) which Skye Bank promptly attended to, but it also allowed scam comments to appear on its page. Here is one of them:
“Now earn 1500-2000 recharge card everyday only in 5-10 minutes
Now its easier than ever to earn money from the internet. Just fill in a few steps, you can earn money very easily.
Just go to the link below and fill the steps which has been told, there you will get the money. This process is 100% secure”
Diamond Bank update is not left out, “Get The Card That Rewards You For Usage” also got reactions from its followers, but most of the comments are either unrelated, or are fraudulent in tone. Something like:
Make money online via referral link (dubious link that promises $25 for just signing up).
 Some of these fraudulent messages can be found on the collection of phishing scam examples.
13 Scammer Tricks on Facebook Pages of Banks
These are some of the tricks scammers use to pounce on their victim:
  1. They open parallel facebook pages of other banks. For instance, if you run a check on any Nigerian banks, you get list of names the same as the real bank. 
  2. They persuade you on the “Fake Facebook Page” of the bank to share a credit card number or debit card information, then commit credit-card fraud. 
  3. They persuade their prospective victim of bonuses if he signs up for a ‘work at home job” 

  4. They trick you to use a particular code for a recharge card so that you will be able to get at least 200% of the amount recharged. 
  5. They appeal to your emotion that you can make at least N2 million within 25 days. 
  6. Scammers advertise that you can own a house in the most important places in Lagos (Ajah, Dolphin Estate, Lekki), Abuja, and other commercial places in Nigeria. 
  7. They promise you that you make your travelling abroad a reality by completing a registration form. 
  8. They instruct you to follow a link so that you can get access to the nude pictures popular artistes. 
  9. They make promises of get-rich-quick. 
  10. They promise you a great contract within government circle. 
  11. Scammers place exotic cars for sale on facebook pages of Nigerian Banks at extremely and at ridiculous prices. 
  12. They promise webmasters links. The link to the Web site actually leads the victim to downloading malware. 
  13. Other scams on facebook include video scam, and breaking news.
12 Ways to Avoid Scam on Facebook Fan Page
  1. Verify the facebook page of any bank you want to follow.
  2.  Real facebook page doesn’t have birthday. 
  3. Real facebook page of a bank will contain the corporate headquarters address with the full URL address. Real bank doesn’t use Short URL in its address. However, you may find Shortened URL in its timeline. 
  4. Don’t share your credit card number or debit card information on any page whether your real bank or other bogus facebook page. 
  5. Think twice before you sign up with that ‘work at home job” as most of them are targeted at getting your email address and other vital information about you. 
  6. Using the trick of scammers to recharge could cost you the actual amount you recharged, or you continue to experience deductions in your balances. 
  7. Don’t play along with scammers if you’re not law enforcement agents. Instead of that report any suspicion. 
  8. Owing property in exotic places in major cities in Nigeria doesn’t need spammy advertisements. So avoid adverts that claim that you can own a house in the most important places in Lagos, Abuja, and other commercial places in Nigeria. 
  9. If you can, avoid links promising you erotic pictures of celebs. Such links may have been encoded with virus which is capable of monitoring your financial activities. 
  10. Nigerian government doesn’t advertise on facebook pages of Nigerian banks. So, if you see any government contract there, then you should know that it is scam. Don’t follow such link. 
  11. Exotic cars for sale on facebook pages of Nigerian Banks are placed by online thieves and not the Nigerian Customs. If there will be auction of cars seized by the Nigerian Customs, advert is placed in print. You can also visit the official page of Nigerian custom for updates. 
  12. To webmasters who want links, don’t be desperate to get visits to your blog or website. As doing so is “black-hat SEO” which can earn you Google penalty.The bottom line is to avoid following any link you’re not familiar with.
How Banks Can Limit Scam Comments on Its Facebook Page
It was obvious that financial institutions across the globe would make good use of the great opportunities abound in facebook when it reached over one billion users. But exceptional potentials of facebook at the other hand pose social banking challenges for banks in the area of scam.
The owner of a facebook page is the administrator of the page. She can be referred to as the gatekeeper, moderator of the page.
These are some of the measures banking institutions can take in order to reduce the epidemic of fraud on their facebook timeline:
  1. Financial institutions should designate a social media manager cum page administrator that will filter comments before they go viral. 
  2. The page moderator shouldn’t react to only “how to open account.” Dubious comments, unrelated topics should also get her attention; such should be deleted. This is to ensure the safety of other page visitors. 
  3. The page gatekeeper should be a quality-control officer who decides what information to discard and which to let pass. 
  4. Banks in Nigeria should carry out daily review of comments on their social media accounts, particularly facebook to see which comments are appropriate and which should not stay. 
  5. If social media banking is to strive, the page moderator should pay special attention to scam on facebook that cybercriminals are pasting on their timeline. 
  6. Some of the comments on facebook page are capable of shaping public’s knowledge, and as such they should be moderated. 
  7. Page admin should understand the concept of “audience gatekeeping”.
Important Gatekeeping Terms for Moderator to note:
Gate– in this context, the gate is the facebook page.

Gatekeeping– According to Barzilai-Nahor, is “the process of controlling information as it moves through the gate. 

Activities include among others, selection, addition, withholding, display, channeling, shaping, manipulation, repetition, timing, localization, integration, disregard, and deletion of information.”

Gated– the responses i.e comments to the updates on the timeline of facebook fan pages of banks.

Gatekeeping mechanism– the method banks can employ to filter comments on their page.
Gatekeeper-the page administrator is the gatekeeper. She should be held responsible for any dubious, scam comments on the page of her employer, just like an editor in a media organization, who pays painstaking attention to articles sent in by reporters.

Barzilai-Nahor calls this network gatekeeper, “an entity (people, organisations, or government) that has the discretion to exercise gatekeeping through a gatekeeping mechanism in networks and can choose the extent to which to exercise it contingent upon the gated standing.”

If other organisations allow fraudulent comments to slip through unto their facebook pages, banks considering their status must be different.

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