The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned customers to beware of international money transfer operators offering very low foreign exchange rates.
The warning was made in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by the apex bank’s acting Director, Corporate Communications. Mr Isaac Okorafor.
CBN cautioned especially, Nigerians in the Diaspora who patronised such international money transfer operators for the purpose of home remittances.
“These unscrupulous operators lure unsuspecting customers with ridiculous exchange rates use Naira accounts opened in local banks to pay out the proceeds to the beneficiaries while channelling the foreign currencies to fund the parallel market.
“This practice has led to non-reporting of such transactions to relevant authorities, thereby undermining effective surveillance of the sector.
“It has also led to discrepancies in statistics on the transactions between countries of origin of remittance and the destination country, Nigeria.
“Against this background, Nigerians in the Diaspora are advised not to patronise unlicensed International Money Transfer Operators as they stand the risk of losing their hard-earned money,” it stated.
Similarly, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) were enjoined to ensure painstaking conduct of “Know Your Customers’ Business”, to prevent the use of accounts for illegal transactions and avoid regulatory sanctions.
According to the apex bank, such accounts, when discovered, would be blocked and the operators handed over to appropriate law enforcement agencies for prosecution.
The CBN stated that the list of 35 licensed international money transfer operators authorised to remit money to Nigeria on behalf of Nigerians in the Diaspora could be found on its website.