The director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Efosa Idehen, has decried the rising trend of fraud perpetuated on telecom platforms (electronic fraud) across key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Efosa Idehen, represented by the head, Consumer Protection and Advocacy, NCC, Clement Omife, raised the concern at an event organized in Benin city, Edo State by the agency tagged, ” Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu,” to inform, educate and enlighten consumers on how they can protect their SIM cards and other vital information from internet fraudsters,.
He appealed to consumers not to give their phones and ATM card, password or PIN to people they don’t know and trust.
“Guard your SIM, your SIM is you. Some can use your SIM to do a negative transaction which will be traced to you.
“Please, decline any request demanding for your private information, code, OTP, ATM PIN or numbers from anyone calling, texting or sending you links to click, claiming to be a customer care from bank service providers.
“Don’t send any of your bank details or SIM details or personal details to anyone for any update, through phone,” the director warned.
He said: “The development and deployment of robust infrastructure to support innovative technologies and services have no doubt positively transformed our socio-economic space. Today, Telecom consumers are enjoying broadband and other services driven by the quest to establish a digital economy.
“As the Telecom industry evolves, there are growing concerns over the rising trend of fraud perpetuated on telecom platforms (electronic fraud), across key sectors of the Nigerian economy. The menace which follows wide acceptance of new methods of mobile money and electronic banking and payment systems has been discovered to cost the country whopping sums of money,” he posited.
Commenting on how the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), rated electronic fraud, Efosa stated: “The CBN rated electronic fraud as a major risk in the sector. These risks are widely associated with electronic payment solutions, such as, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS), Instant Payment and mobile banking.
The telecommunications sector is not also spared in the raging storm stoked by cyber fraudsters across the country. Attackers are now targeting Telecom networks with the intent of getting access to consumer information in the databank of service providers.”
He identified SIM swaps dollar e-payment as targets of serious cyber frauds.
“SIM swaps and unstructured supplementary Service Data, USSD e-payment frauds are currently some of the serious cyber threats in the telecom industry. Fraudsters conduct SIM swaps of targeted individuals, and then conduct USSD-based transactions with the attendant huge losses to victims.
“A lot of people have learnt the hard way how losing their phones and vital information to fraudsters can lead to devastating theft of the money in their bank accounts.
“These fraudsters do this by stealing victims’ identities- name, address, bank information, and other information, which they use in gaining access to their victims’ bank account.
“They also use the stolen identities to defraud other people, and even apply for loans or make online purchases, leaving the victims with debts,” Efosa lamented.
Representing the director, New Media and Information Security Department, Sabo begged the public not to buy unregistered SIM cards from people and also not buy SIM cards that have been used by their friends and relatives, as that could land them in jail.
He warned against exposing the passwords, secret details of their numbers to relatives and friends, and buying phones from people they don’t know.
While narrating her ordeal at the interactive session, one of the participants at the occasion, Mrs. Tina Osawe, said her phone was stolen when she boarded a commercial bus to go home.
When she discovered the theft and went to block her account within 20 minutes, all the money in her account had been withdrawn.
Other participants also recounted similar experiences on how they were duped by internet fraudsters through their SIM and ATM cards and other internet platforms.