Nigerians have been warned about the new threat posed by electronic fraudsters, who now target telecommunications networks to interrupt service delivery in order to carry out their criminal activity, by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
This warning was given by Prof. Umar Garba, executive vice chairman of the Commission, on Wednesday during a Consumer Protection and Advocacy Program held in Kofar Goriya, Keffi, Nasarawa state. He referred to the country’s increase in electronic scams as disturbing and cautioned residents about falling victim to fraudsters’ tricks.
He also advised citizens to avoid opening suspicious e-mail messages, or respond to unfamiliar enquiries online, stressing that Information from the CBN indicated that e-fraud in Nigeria remains the biggest risk at the moment.
He added the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, the Nigeria Police Force and the Central Bank of Nigeria have upscaled their mandate in collaboration with the NCC to fight electronic frauds.
He said electronic fraudsters also infiltrate people’s data bank SIM swaps and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD, to carry out nefarious activities.
Danbatta was represented at the event by the Head of Consumer Protection and Advocacy Unit, Mr. Clement Omife with the theme: ”Shine your eye, don’t fall mugu”.
Danbatta said: ”As the telecom industry evolves, there is a growing concern over the rising trend of fraud on telecom (electronic fraud) across 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 of money.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rates electronic fraud as the biggest risk in the sector which has widely incorporated electronic payment solutions such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS) Instant Payment and mobile banking.”
He stressed that the Consumer Advocacy and ongoing enlightenment campaigns across were aimed to curb e-fraud, and ensure security and integrity of telecoms industry in relation with the nation’s financial system.
“Attackers are now targeting telecom networks with the intent to disrupt service delivery and infiltrate their data bank SIM swaps and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD e-payment frauds, are currently some of the serious cyber threats in the telecom industry.
“Fraudsters conduct SIM swaps of individuals and then conduct USSD-based transactions which cost victims huge losses.
“A lot of people are highly ignorant to how losing their phones to fraudsters can lead to a complete clean-up of their bank accounts. These fraudsters do this by stealing victims’ identities; name, address, bank information.
“Consumers are advised to be careful not to open unfamiliar email or respond to unfamiliar inquiries and report suspicious E-fraud to your bank and telecom service provider,” the NCC boss added.