NCC Raises the Alarm over Rising Electronic Frauds in Nigeria’s Telecom Industry  

Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki

The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has cautioned various telecommunication consumers on the rising trend of electronic frauds perpetuated on telecom platforms across key sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The Director, Consumer Protection and Advocacy Unit, Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Commission, Mr. Alkasim Umar, sent the warning during a sensitisation programme in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.

At the event tagged: ‘Shine Your Eyes-No Fall Mugu’, Umar noted that as part of the strategy to actualise the protection and promotion of the interest of consumers, the department collaborates with Consumer Advocacy Groups and relevant stakeholders to empower telecoms consumers with the knowledge and advocate for their protection within the telecoms industry.

The director, who was represented by the Head of Consumer Advocacy and Production Unit of NCC, Clems Omeife, said the development and deployment of robust infrastructure to support innovative technologies and services have no doubt positively transformed our socio-economic space.

According to him, “As the telecom industry evolves, there is a growing concern over the rising trend of fraud perpetuated on telecom platform (electronic fraud) across key sectors of the Nigerian economy.” 

“The menace that follows the wide acceptance of new methods of mobile money electronic banking and payment systems has been discovered to cost the country a whopping amount of money.

 “Cyber criminals are targeting telecoms networks, interrupting service provision and accessing bank data. Victims are often left with enormous losses from SIM swaps and USSD e-payment frauds.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has identified electronic fraud as the biggest risk to the sector, which has embraced a range of electronic payment solutions, including Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS), instant payment as well as mobile banking.

“A lot of people are highly ignorant of how losing their phones to fraudsters can lead to a complete clean-up of their bank accounts. These fraudsters do this by stealing victims’ identities, names, addresses, and bank information, which they use to gain access to their bank accounts.

“They also use the stolen identity to defraud other people and even apply for loans, leaving the victim with debts. It is in view of this and in line with the commission’s consumer-centric posture that the commission in collaboration with relevant advocacy groups embarked on the sensitisation programme tagged: ‘Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu’, across the six geopolitical zones in the country.”

Umar stated that the commission also collaborated with critical stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and other relevant agencies in the fight against e-banking fraudsters.

He further advised telecom consumers to be vigilant and cautious when it comes to financial transactions on the telecom platform as fraud can occur through various channels, including unsolicited text messages, voice calls, emails, and fake mobile applications.

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