The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has inaugurated a multi-sectorial Committee on e-Fraud, to help in combating financial fraud through telecommunications. To this end, the Commission has stressed the need for Customer Service and Fraud Operations teams in banks and mobile network operators to put in place, stronger processes and tighter guidelines on how to detect potentially fraudulent activities, and to compensate victims where prevention mechanisms fail.
Recall that the proposed MoU was one of the resolutions of the Stakeholders Forum of financial fraud using telecoms platforms held on January 29th.Speaking during the inauguration, yesterday, in Abuja, Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Committee is to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the resolutions from the Stakeholders Forum on Financial Fraud committed via telecommunications platforms.He noted that with the attainment of 35.4 per cent 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. This includes fraudulent SIM swaps to bypass authentication systems, regardless of whether the transactions are conducted via mobile phone, desktop browser, or point of purchase.
Danbatta advised banks to provide 24/7 toll free line service that customers can call to report suspected cases of financial fraud especially with stolen phones and suspected SIM swap.He said the Commission was working closely with critical stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Nigerian Police Force; 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.
“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 added.
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 also 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.” The Committee is made up of two members each from the CBN, NCC, National Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), and Ministry of Justice. Other members from the banks, Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and security agencies, have higher number of representatives.