By Etuka Sunday
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday inaugurated multi-sectorial Committee on e-Fraud.
The Committee was mandated to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the resolutions from the Stakeholders Forum on the financial fraud committed via telecommunications platforms.
Recall, the proposed MoU was one of the resolutions of the Stakeholders Forum of Financial Fraud using Telecoms Platforms which was held on the 29th of January 2019.
Speaking in his Welcome Address, in an event to inaugurate the committee, the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said, with the attainment of 35.4% Broadband penetration, Cyber criminals, hackers and other unscrupulous elements are exploiting platform vulnerabilities to gain illegal access to bank accounts through phishing and other social engineering ploys such as fraudulent SIM swaps to bypass authentication systems, regardless of whether the transactions are conducted via mobile phone, desktop browser, or point of purchase.
Prof. Danbatta said, the Customer Service and Fraud Operations teams in Banks and Mobile Network Operators need stronger processes and tighter guidelines on how to detect potentially fraudulent activities and to compensate victims where prevention mechanisms fail.
He said, the Commission was working closely with critical stakeholders such as 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 agencies to implement technical and operational solutions in this regard.
The NCC boss said, the committee would develop a plan for the implementation of the MoU, which according to him, would provide a roadmap for drastically curbing the menance of e-Fraud.
He identified effective collaboration between government agencies and private organisations as pivotal in tackling electronic fraud.
“Permit me to emphasize that effective collaboration between government agencies and private organisations is pivotal in tackling this scourge of electronic fraud.
“With this in mind, members of the Committee have been carefully selected to provide broad perspectives and leverage their diverse experience to successfully deliver on this critical assignment.
“Understandably, our expectations are high and we look forward to a comprehensive and all-encompassing output from the Committee,” he said.
Earlier, in her Opening Remarks, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Mrs Felicia Onwuegbuchulam said, prior to the Stakeholders Forum, the incidence of financial fraud using telecom platforms had been pervasive, crossing all borders and boundaries and industry spectrum.
She said, the negative implications of such frauds were not only huge in financial losses but high in reputational damage to the telecom operators, the financial institutions, the regulators (NCC and CBN) security agencies and the nation as a whole.
She said, “the Commission had also been inundated with complaints on the unceasing cases of financial fraud via the use of telecom platforms and, as a result, was poised at seeking initiatives aimed at creating greater awareness on the issues as well as creating ways of mitigating problems arising from its occurrence.
“The Stakeholders forum was, indeed, one of the initiatives put in place by the Commission to harness ideas and solutions towards solving/ mitigating the menace,” she said.
The Committee is made up of members from the following Organisations: CBN, 2 members, NCC, five members, Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission, 2 members, National Inter Bank Settlement System, 2 members, National Identity Management Commission, 2 members, Telecom Service Providers (ALTON), 3 members, Banks, 3 members, Security agencies, 5 members and Ministry of Justice, 2 members.