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Published On: Wed, Dec 11th, 2019

ICAF: NCC restates commitment to curb financial fraud

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By Etuka Sunday

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday restated commitment to curb financial fraud using telecommunications platforms.
NCC’s Executive Commissioner, stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu disclosed the commission’s commitment at the 4th quarter 2019 Industry Consumer Advisory Forum in Abuja.
The meeting was opened to critical stakeholders responsible for combating financial fraud committed using telecommunications platforms.
Speaking, Adewolu decried the rising trend of electronic fraud across key sectors of the Nigerian economy through electronic banking such as debit Cards, Mobile Money and e-payment systems.
He said, 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 InterBank Settlement System (NIBBS) Instant Payments and Mobile Banking, adding that the telecommunications sector was also not immuned from the scourge of cyber fraudsters across the country thus the need to curb the menace.
“Attackers are now targeting Telecom networks with the intent to disrupt service delivery and infiltrate their data banks. Illegal SIM Swaps and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) e-payment frauds, are currently some of the most serious cyber threats in the telecom industry.
“fraudsters conduct illegal SIM swaps of targeted individuals and then, conduct USSD-based transactions which cost the unlucky victims huge losses. This 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”,he said.
He said, the NCC’s is collaborating with relevant stakeholders to protect the interests of consumers by implementing technical and operational solutions to curb the scourge.
He listed other critical stakeholders to include: 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 offenses.
He recalled that the Commission held a Stakeholders Forum on Financial Fraud using Telecoms Platforms, on the 29th of January, 2019 and came up with fourteen (14) far ranging resolutions one of which was that the NCC and all other stakeholders should sign an MOU with the Security Agencies.
“Just recently the National Assembly through the House of Representatives set up an Adhoc Committee on the increasing incidents of SIM Swap Fraud. The NCC, security agencies and other stakeholders were invited by the Committee to deliberate on the issue and we discussed various ways of curbing this and other cyber crimes.
“Permit me to emphasize that effective collaboration between government agencies, private organizations and individuals is pivotal in tackling this scourge of electronic fraud.
“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”.
On her part Mrs Felicia Onwwuegbuchulam Director Consumer Affairs Bureau NCC
said the theme “Financial Fraud Using Telecoms Platforms What Consumers Need to Know”, is apt as Financial fraud using telecoms platforms has been on the front burner for both the financial and telecoms sectors in recent time.
“ 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.
The Consumer is one of the major stakeholders in the telecoms industly. It is our desire as a Commission to ensure that they enjoy primary focus”.
According to her adequate education, information sharing and the provision of an array of channels for redress, will safeguard telecom consumers and innovatively promote the prospect for greater consumer Experience.
She revealed that the Commission has put in place education of consumers on financial frauds through its various outreach programmes;Telecom Consumer Parliament, Consumer Outreach Programme, Consumer Town Hall Meeting, Elite Enlightenment Programme, Collaboration with various advocacy groups, Participation at Trade Fairs, amongst others.
The forum had papers presented themed”Detecting Telecommunications Frauds by Understanding the Contents of a Call, Text or Email” and “Data Depletion Causes and Recommendation” by Prince Majemite, Chairman Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) and Mr Ben Anyalenkwe, MD New Capital Cooperative amongst other stakeholders who outlined the efforts currently ongoing in promoting cyber security and use of data education.

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