Subscribers losing money to telecom-related financial crimes, says NCC
…Identifies illegal SIM swaps, e-payment frauds as most serious cyber threats
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that malevolent use of modem technologies is taking its toll on the Nigerian telecoms industry, as some subscribers have reportedly lost huge sums of money to telecom-related financial crimes since the emergent use of Smartphone technology in the country.
NCC identified illegal SIM swaps, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and e-payment frauds, as the most serious cyber threats in the telecom industry in the country today.
Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu who stated this at the 4th quarter 2019 Industry Consumer Advisory Forum in Abuja, noted that fraudsters conduct illegal SIM swaps of targeted individuals and then, conduct USSD-based transactions which cost the unlucky victims huge losses. He observed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rates e-fraud as the biggest risk in the financial sector which has widely incorporated electronic payment solutions such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMS), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS) Instant Payments and Mobile Banking.
Adewolu noted that effective collaboration between government agencies, private organizations and individuals is pivotal in tackling this scourge of electronic fraud and advised consumers to be careful not to open unfamiliar email or respond to unfamiliar inquiries and report suspicious E-fraud transactions to their banks and telecom service providers.
“In fulfilment of one of its fundamental statutory responsibilities of protecting the interests of consumers, the Commission has been working closely with other stakeholders to implement technical and operational solutions to financial fraud using telecom platforms.
“A prominent example of this collaboration is the Committee on Electronic Banking Fraud whose drivers comprise of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mobile Network Operators (MVOs), Banks, the Nigerian lnter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS), the Wireless Applications Services Providers Association of Nigeria (WASPAN) and licensed Mobile Money Service Providers. Furthermore, the Commission also collaborates with other 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”, he added.
Adewolu recalled that a Multi-Sectoral Committee to develop the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will harmonize the activities of critical stakeholders responsible for combating financial fraud committed through telecommunications platforms was inaugurated last month.
Also speaking, Director Consumer Affairs Bureau NCC, Mrs Felicia Onwwuegbuchulam noted that financial fraud using telecoms platforms has been on the front burner for both the financial and telecoms sectors in recent time, as the negative implications of such frauds are not only huge in financial losses but also high in reputational damage to telecoms operators, financial institutions, the regulators (NCC and CBN), Security Agencies and the nation at huge.
She stated that NCC identifies financial fraud as a major concern to telecom Consumers through its feedback mechanism and that to curb this challenge, the Commission in collaboration with relevant stakeholders have put in place education of consumers on financial frauds through its various outreach programmes like the Telecom Consumer Parliament, Consumer Outreach Programme and Consumer Town Hall Meeting among others.