Experts Call for Stringent Regulation for SIM Swap


Obinna Chima

The Head, Industry and Security Service, Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Femi Fadairo has described the sim swap policy in the Nigerian telecom industry as a growing menace as it exposes subscribers and bank customers to fraudsters.

Speaking at the annual electronic fraud forum organised by Access Bank Plc in Lagos on Thursday, Fadairo stressed the need for stringent regulations around the sim swap policy.

His view was supported by other experts that spoke at the forum.

To address this challenge, Fadairo said there was need for telcos to request for Bank Verification Number (BVN) of phone users before effecting any sim swap.

“All customers must provide a valid BVN for sim registration. System to be put in place to identify swapped or re-used sim cards. All sim swaps must undergo BVN verification before it can be effected,” Fadairo said.

In addition, he said there was need for information sharing between the telcos and the financial institutions.

“Banking fraud desk coordinators should be able to blacklist fraudulent phone numbers with telcos ensuring that blacklisted phone numbers are unable to further process transactions.

“Banks and telcos to establish harmonised fraud desks for collaborative operations.

“There is no one way of tackling cybercrime, but an effective stakeholder collaboration across board will definitely yield tangible results.

“We must all work together to ensure that we have the best possible defenses. The fight against fraud is a fight for all,” he said.

He pointed out that while digital banking had forever transformed the way people bank, it had also increasingly created new opportunities for fraudsters.

Due to the speed and ease of digital banking, more frauds are perpetrated effortlessly, he noted.

“It is no coincidence then that adoption of digital channels and devices have grown in tandem with fraud.

“The economy has been battling the rising menace of electronic fraud, especially among mobile money operators.
“The rate at which customers are being defrauded is alarming. There is need for synergy amongst the various stakeholders and telcos to work relentlessly in tackling fraud,” he added.

Earlier in his remark, the CEO of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said the forum was to ensure active collaboration among operators in the industry in the fight against fraudsters.
Wigwe, who was represented by an Executive Director of the bank, Mr. Victor Etuokwu, pointed out that cybercrime was the second most reported economic crime in 2016.

“The advancement and adoption of digital technology has enabled banks to achieve greater scale, enter new markets and they now understand their customers much better.
“Online and mobile banking has transformed the way people live and bank. But digital revolution has a dark side.
“It is increasingly creating new opportunities for fraudsters to hack into accounts and commit fraud,” he added.
To this end, Wigwe stressed the need for banks to take security very serious.