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Cybersecurity: NCC cautions telecoms consumers against cyber fraudsters

*The Nigerian Communications Commission has reassured telecoms consumers in the country of sustained awareness creation and public education on online frauds, to guard against falling prey to dubious activities of cybercriminals

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In view of the reported growing prevailing threats posed by cybercriminals, especially in country’s banking system, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cautioned telecommunications consumers to be conscious of the illegal activities of Internet fraudsters and associated risk to phone users.

Mr. Efosa Idehen, Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of NCC, raised the concern on the prevailing threat posed by cyber fraudsters, particularly in the banking industry, and noted that the ugly trend has snowballed into the telecommunications sector.

Idehen, at a recent sensitisation workshop tagged: “Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu”, said the Commission organised to reawaken public consciousness in Kano, Northern Nigeria, also reminded that telephones are now being targeted by criminal elements seeking to defraud unsuspected consumers in the country.

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Represented by Hafusat Lawal, Deputy Director of CAB, the Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau disclosed that attackers are also targeting telecoms networks with the intent of getting access to consumers’ information in the data bank of service providers.

He as well warned telecoms consumers on the risk inherent in SIM swaps, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and e-payment among other critical areas susceptible to cybercrime.

Idehen, therefore, cautioned consumers not to open unfamiliar emails or respond to unfamiliar inquiries while urging them not to hesitate to report suspicious propositions to their banks and telecom service providers.

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Efforts and collaboration are being established with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other relevant agencies to curtail the fraudsters’ menace, he stated.

The CAB Director reiterated NCC’s mandate to protect and promote consumers’ interests.

He also stressed the Commission would sustain awareness creation and public education on telecoms fraudsters to guard against falling prey.

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“The development and deployment of robust infrastructure to support innovative technologies and services has no doubt positively transformed our socio-economic space. “Today, telecoms consumers are enjoying Broadband and other service driven by the quest to establish a digital economy,” Idehen said.

“As the telecom industry evolves, there are growing concerns over the rising trend of fraud perpetrated on telecom platforms 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.

“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, which they use in gaining access to their victims’ bank accounts.”

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