How to Keep Your BVN, NIN and Phone Number Safe

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Hello! Trust you’re having a good day? In this article, we’ll be talking about ways to protect or secure your Bank Verification Number (also known as BVN), National Identification Number (also know as NIN) and Phone Number. We purposely compiled this article to guide you on how you can protect yourself and your personal information from hacktivists and potential scams.

According Business Day NG, Cybercrimes saw surge in the first six month of 2022 with phishing and scams hitting 438% and 174% in Kenya and in Nigeria, respectively. Similar research made by proofpoint.com shows that smishing attack (also known as SMS Fraud) has been experienced by 76% of companies and organization in 2022.

However, all these massive records has proofed to me and you that the rate at which cybercrimes (including phishing, smishing and bank frauds) are executed these days is surging. In addition, Nigeria has been ranked 16th among the countries most affected by cybercrime in the world. Hence, we’ve compiled this post to guide you on how you can keep your BVN, NIN and Phone Number from rising frauds and potential scams.

Here Is How To Protect Your BVN

In Nigeria, Bank Verification Number (BVN) is essential at any financial institution to open a bank account. It’s a mandatory requirement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). In other words, you’ll need a BVN to open a bank account at any bank in Nigeria.

Banks use BVN to validate all your personal information including your transaction histories in any bank. If you have five (5) bank account, through your BVN, CBN can access to all the accounts without your consent. Meanwhile, CBN cannot enter your BVN without any good reasons. So, don’t get it twisted.

However, as Nigerian’s Apex bank has access to all your banking information via BVN, the same way hackers and fraudsters will gain access to all your banking details when your BVN is being compromised by them. Hence, here are some tips on how to protect your BVN from getting into the hands of scrupulous person(s):

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Never Share Your BVN with Anyone

Take note, ANYONE! Not even your parents, your friends, your siblings, or any other extended family. It’s called “bank verification number”, that is, it’s only for you and for your personal use only. Your BVN is a sensitive piece of information that contains all your financial details, it’s expected not to be shared with anyone expect you and your bank.

Can someone use my BVN to borrow money?

This provides them with a form of safety net since they can use the BVN to check the validity of your personal information. But the truth is that A BVN however cannot be used to access any bank account or be used to pay money into or collect money from any account by itself.

Can I block my BVN number?

Once enrolled, you can not deactivate your BVN. BVN is a biometric system introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria to reduce fraud. However, it is not possible to deactivate it.

What Is A BVN?

BVN is an acronym for Bank Verification Number. A BVN is a unique 11-digit number assigned to every bank account holder for virtual identification. If you open a bank account for the first time, your bank will issue a BVN to you as a virtual ID and guide your financial transactions.

Because your BVN is linked to your biometric data, you can only have one Bank Verification Number even if you open bank accounts with all the banks in Nigeria.

Why Is The BVN Important?

The idea of BVN was initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria and charged the banks to comply with it. There are many reasons for the initiation of BVN by the Central Bank of Nigeria; however, the chief reason is to curb and prevent fraudulent practices in the banking sector.

So, your BVN is a virtual ID and can be used to trace criminals or suspicious movements.

What Does It Mean To Blacklist A BVN?

A blacklisted BVN is one that has been rendered useless by the Nigerian credit bureaus. Once a BVN is blacklisted, it means that the owner of the BVN has lost control over his finances.

He or she would be unable to apply for loans and perform other financial transactions due to the ban on the BVN.

While many people are asking if it is possible to lift the ban or remove their BVNs from the database, some are asking how to know if their BVNs are blacklisted.

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These questions will be carefully answered in this article; however, before we know how to check if your BVN is blacklisted or not or how to remove your name from the database, let us know why your BVN can be blacklisted.

What Can Cause A BVN To Be Blacklisted?

It is essential to know the factors that can cause your BVN to be blacklisted. Understanding the reasons will guide you to prevent that from happening to you.

Some people whose BVNs are blacklisted would have averted that if they knew these reasons, we would explore them in this article section. They are;

  1. One of the main reasons for blacklisting a BVN is the failure of the owner to repay a loan. If you borrow money from the bank or any financial institution and fail to pay when due, your BVN may be blacklisted, at such, preventing you from taking any other loan and also affecting your credit score.
  2. Being a guarantor to a defaulter can also cause your BVN to be blacklisted. Hence, it would help if you examined whoever you want to stand up for as a guarantor and ensure they can repay their loans.
  3. Another reason your BVN can be blacklisted is when you issue dud cheques. By dud cheques, we mean cheques with amounts higher than what is in your bank account. This may not only lead to your BVN being blacklisted but also to your arrest.

How To Know If Your BVN is Blacklisted In Nigeria

Having known the significant reasons or causes of a BVN being Blacklisted, the next important to know is how to check if your BVN is blacklisted if you suspect that something might be wrong. Here are possible ways to do that;

  1. Visit the Central Bank of Nigeria website and request the list of people whose BVNs are blacklisted.
  2. You can also call on your bank to help you do a status check on your BVN by visiting your nearest bank branch.
  3. You can also utilize report companies like CreditConnection.

If, after checking and it is confirmed that your BVN is blacklisted, do not worry. There is a way out!

How To Remove Your BVN From The Blacklist

If you wish to remove your BVN from the blacklist, here are seven important steps you must take;

  1. Meet the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and ask for help.
  2. Contact your bank and ask them to help you remove your BVN from the blacklist.
  3. Go to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and request a white list status.
  4. Get a clearance letter from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
  5. Pay all your outstanding debts and bills.
  6. Request a letter of removal from your bank(s).
  7. Proceed to apply to the Presidential Committee on Verification and Clearing of Defaulters (PCVDC).
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You can also verify through any of these codes ;

  1. 9mobile – To check BVN through 9mobile, dial *565*0#
  2. Airtel – To check BVN through Airtel, dial *565*0#
  3. Glo – To check BVN through Glo, dial *565*0#
  4. MTN – To check BVN through MTN, dial *565*0#

Remember that having your BVN blacklisted is never a good thing. However, with the steps outlined above, you can remove your BVN from the blacklist. However, it might take time and resources to accomplish.

Tips To Prevent Your BVN From Being Blacklisted

Prevention, they said, is better than cure.” It is better to prevent your BVN from being blacklisted than to look for ways to remove it. Below are tips to guide on that;

  1. Memorize your Bank Verification Number
  2. Do not share your BVN with anyone
  3. Always enter the right BVN
  4. Do not send dud cheques
  5. Ensure that your devices are well secured.
  6. Always check your account and report any fraudulent activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I check if I am blacklisted?

Yes, you can check if you are blacklisted. You can follow the seven steps shared above, or you can dial any of the USSD codes on the phone number linked to your BVN or bank account.

What does it mean for my BVN to be blacklisted?

Once your BVN is blacklisted, it means that your bank account (s) has been flagged. The chances that your bank account is associated with fraud and that you owe your bank or any financial institution are high.

Being added to the blacklist restricts your financial activities with your bank account. Hence, we advise you to contact your bank once you suspect such.

How do I check my BVN status?

Checking your BVN status means you want to know if you are blacklisted or not. You can try any of the following shortcodes ;

  • 9mobile – To check BVN through 9mobile, dial *565*0#
  • Airtel – To check BVN through Airtel, dial *565*0#
  • Glo – To check BVN through Glo, dial *565*0#
  • MTN – To check BVN through MTN, dial *565*0#

Can loan apps lock your BVN?

Yes, loan apps can lock your BVN by reporting you to Nigerian credit bureaus.

How can I remove my BVN from the Blacklist?

The first and most crucial steps to remove your BVN from the blacklist are to pay up your debts and then contact the credit bureau or your bank.

How to check online if I’m blacklisted in Nigeria?

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s website will help you to check online if you are blacklisted.

Does BVN has anything to do with NIN?

“The Good news: So many Nigerians have NIN and they are unaware. The truth is that everyone that did their BVN when it was introduced in 2014 has NIN automatically assigned to them.

The fastest way to know if your BVN is blacklisted in Nigeria is to visit your bank and request your BVN status. Aside from that, you can dial any of the codes we shared in this article or utilize any of the credit report companies.

Remember that your BVN is a crucial number and should be kept confidential. Do not share with anyone, and always call your bank to confirm in case of calls from unknown numbers who may be scammers. Be wise!

Don’t Share Your BVN on Untrusted Web and App

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