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5G Scam Alert: Regulators warn telecoms consumers against OTP fraudsters

*The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission warns Nigerian telecoms consumers against sending One-Time Passwords to cyberfraudsters to avoid losing ‘all the money in their bank accounts’

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the formal launch of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology by the leading Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the West African country, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has cautioned Nigerians to beware of fraudsters sending messages and calling telecoms consumers.

READ Cybersecurity: NCC-CSIRT Releases Fresh Advisories On Consumer Protection Against Threat Actors

The anti-graft regulatory Commission, in a swift move to protect consumers, revealed the cybercriminals are requesting Nigerians to help them update their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards from 4G to 5G Networks.

It is recalled the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), between December 2021 and 2022,  in Abuja, FCT, had successfully auctioned three slots in the 3.5GHz Spectrum band, and subsequently awarded 5G licences to MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Limited and Airtel Networks for deployment of the new-fangled technology in the country’s telecoms ecosystem.

READ AfricaNXT 2023: Stakeholders Commend NCC On Regulatory Impact, Digital Economy

While the three MNOs have since activated the 5G Networks  in the ecosystem, the telecoms sector regulatory Commission has continued to highlight the sundry benefits of the 5G technology to Nigeria and Nigerians.

The Commission noted these include high-speed Internet and improved Broadband connectivity for enhanced Quality of Service (QoS), advancement of individuals, businesses, organisations, and to deepen the Nigeria Digital Economy project.

Ignore cyberfraudsters’ ‘upgraded to 5G’ OTP requests, EFCC urges consumers

However, on the latest cyberscam related to 5G technology deployment, the EFCC, in a  communiqué, stated that scammers are sending an OTP to telecoms consumers who opt to have their mobile SIM Cards “upgraded to 5G”.

READ: 5G Networks Deployment Places Nigeria Ahead Of Other Countries On African Continent –Mafab Chair

ConsumerConnect reports the OTP is a banking industry term for “One-Time Password”.

An OTP number is a unique security code used for online transactions, and it adopts an “auto-generated algorithm to help users authenticate their online transactions.”

READ Digital Economy: What Telecoms Consumers Should Know Between 4G, 5G Networks

Experts have says that an OTP “provides an extra layer of authentication as compared to a static password.”

Measures to protect yourself against cybercriminals

The anti-graft regulatory agency also disclosed that such potential victims would be asked to provide the code with which the defrauders would eventually scam the innocent consumers.

The EFCC also warned: “PLEASE, DO NOT provide the OTP sent to you.

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“If you tell them the OTP number sent by them, they will transfer all the money in your Bank Account to their own account.”

The Commission, therefore, urged telecoms consumers to ensure that they do not engage strangers who request to help them to upgrade from 4G to 5G technology.

Neither should consumers tell if any individual asks them for an OTP, the EFCC  cautioned.

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