NCC restates commitment to fight financial crime

Na'ankwat Dariem

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has reiterated its commitment to curb financial fraud through telecommunications platforms.
The Commission gave the assurance on in Abuja at the 4th quarter 2019 Industry Consumer Advisory Forum meeting, opened to critical stakeholders responsible for combating financial fraud committed through telecommunications platforms.
Speaking at forum ,the Executive Commissioner stakeholder Management NCC, Mr. Adeleke 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 explained that 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.
Mr. Adewolu noted that the telecommunications sector is 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.”Adewulo noted .
He said  that NCC’s is collaborating with relevant stakeholders to protect the interests of consumers by  implementing technical and operational solutions to curb the scourge.
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. ” He said
Adding that  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”.
In her remarks, Director Consumer Affairs Bureau NCC, Mrs. Felicia Onwwuegbuchulam
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.
She said: ” 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 industry. It is our desire as a Commission to ensure that they enjoy primary focus”.
Mrs.Onwwuegbuchulam noted the 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 added 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.
Suzan O