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Safety Alert: NCC warns telecoms consumers against buying pre-registered SIM Cards

*The Nigerian Communications Commission restates the use of pre-registered SIM Cards is ‘criminal’, as it not only compromises the accuracy of consumer information, but poses a grave threat to the country’s security, with grave consequences, including imprisonment, implication in identity theft, financial fraud, kidnapping and armed robbery

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), again, has cautioned telecoms consumers against patronising pre-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Cards, stating that doing so is “criminal”, and an act that could attract severe consequences to culprits.

ConsumerConnect reports the NCC Friday, May 17, 2024, re-issued the warning in a message published on its verified social media platform.

SIM Cards

The telecoms sector regulatory Commission noted the use of pre-registered SIM cards not only compromises the accuracy of consumer information with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) but also poses a further threat to the West African country’s current eerie security situation.

The NCC stated: “Buying pre-registered SIM cards is criminal and may lead to imprisonment, implication in identity theft, financial fraud, kidnapping and armed robbery.”

It is recalled the Nigerian Government, December 2020, initiated the measure as a mechanism to in the streamline the identification process and combat growing cybercrimes and related scams in the telecommunications ecosystem.

The NCC subsequently, made the linkage of consumers’ National Identification Numbers (NINs) with their SIM Cards compulsory, as it directed all telecoms operators to enforce complete network barring on all phone lines for which subscribers fail to link their SIM Cards to their NINs.

Far-reaching effects pre-registered SIM Cards on NCC’s data-centric approach to regulatory affairs, others

The Commission further explained that using a pre-registered SIM Card undermines the reliability of data collected on telecoms consumers, making it challenging for other regulatory authorities to identify and apprehend the actual perpetrators of crimes in the country’s digital environment.

According to NCC, the latest warning is aimed at educating the public on the risks associated with pre-registered SIM Cards while encouraging compliance with legal guidelines to enhance national security.

It also urged telecoms consumers to follow the proper procedures for registering SIM Cards in order to avoid any legal consequences thereafter.

Recall that the Nigerian telecommunications companies had directed their subscribers to link their SIM cards to their National Identification Numbers.

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