NCC Prioritizes Public Protection From Internet Fraudsters
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has broadened regulatory efforts towards protecting the interests of telecom consumers from financial frauds.
The commission, therefore, warned that free wireless fidelity, WIFI, and free phone-charging ports, especially at airports and other public places could make it easier for criminals to hack phones.
The commission demonstrated this at the 2019 fourth quarter Open Forum of the NCC’s Industry Consumer Advisory Forum, ICAF, in Abuja.
The forum was attended by ICAF institutional and other stakeholders from telecom and financial sectors, law enforcement agencies as well as consumer advocacy groups, all of who convened at the instance of NCC to deliberate on financial frauds using the telecoms platform.
The deliberations focused on what consumers need to know in order to be protected. Thus, the forum provided opportunities for stakeholders to examine and address criminal acts perpetrated using telecommunications channels. Participants called on banks and telcos to step up measures to create robust awareness in order to ensure that telecoms platforms are used to carry out financial transactions safely.
Addressing participants at the forum, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, ECSM, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, said there has been growing concern over the rising trend of electronic frauds across key sectors of the Nigerian economy with Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, rating e-fraud as the biggest risk on the financial sector where the use of e-channels to conduct financial transactions has become the order of the day.
He said telecoms sector is not immune to the scourge of electronic-related frauds, as attackers now target telecoms networks with the intent to disrupt service delivery and infiltrate their data banks. “Illegal subscriber identification module (SIM) swaps and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) e-payment frauds, are currently some of the most serious cyber threat in the telecoms industry. Fraudsters conduct illegal SIM swap of targeted individuals and then, conduct USSD-based transactions which cost the victims huge losses,” Adewolu said.
The Executive Commissioner said, while this has been the situation, the NCC, in dealing with the menace and in keeping with its regulatory responsibilities of protecting the interest of consumers, has been working closely with other stakeholders to implement technical and operational solutions to preventing financial fraud using telecoms platforms.
“Just as we have demonstrated through ICAF, the NCC has embraced a multi-sectoral synergy to harmonise the activities of critical stakeholders responsible for combating financial fraud committed through telecoms platforms and we will continue to strengthen this,” The ECSM added.
Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, who listed the various efforts the Commission had taken in protecting telecoms consumers, said it is NCC’s conviction that through adequate education, information sharing and provision of an array of channels of redress, “we can safeguard telecom consumers and innovatively promote the prospect for greater consumer experience.”