Financial Fraud using the Telecommunications platform has been ongoing since the introduction of Mobile phone /GSM. Online transactions and e-banking have paved way for more sophisticated financial fraud and scams to unsuspecting victims. Electronic fraud is fast becoming a growing threat to the Nigerian Banking Industry, Telecom Subscribers and the general public.
According to Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigerian telecom subscribers have lost about N12.5 billion to telecom-related financial crimes since smartphones became common in the country, however, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, says financial fraud which has become a growing trend within the industry calls for concern and that the NCC in collaboration with other relevant agencies is putting its full might behind efforts to confront the menace, head on.
Against this backdrop, the Nigerian Communications Commission has been collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), and other relevant agencies to help fight financial fraud using the Telecoms platform.
The Commission further demonstrated this at the 2019 Fourth Quarter Open Forum of the NCC’s Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) at the NCC Annex office on Tuesday in Abuja.
Speaking about the prevalence of Financial fraud using the telecoms platform and how it can be curbed, the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, (NCC), Adeleke Adewolu said there has been growing concern over the rising trend of electric frauds across key sectors of the Nigerian economy with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rating e-fraud as the biggest risk on the financial sector where the using of e-channels to conduct financial transactions has become the order of the day.
Adewolu further stated that the telecoms sector is not immune to the scourge of electronic-related frauds, as attackers now target telecoms networks with the intent to disrupt service delivery and infiltrate their data banks.
While assuring that the Telecom Regulatory Body has intensified regulatory efforts towards protecting the interests of telecoms consumers from the scourge of financial frauds through its multi-sectoral collaboration approach.
Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, who listed the various efforts the Commission has been taking in protecting telecom consumers said it is the NCC’s conviction that through adequate education, information sharing and provision of an array of channels of redress, we can safeguard telecom consumers and innovatively promote the prospect for greater consumer experience.
The forum provided opportunities for stakeholders to copiously examined and address criminal acts of using telecoms platform for financial frauds with stakeholders calling on banks and telcos to step up measures to create robust awareness for their customers using telecoms platforms to carry out financial transactions.
In a paper presentation on Telecoms oriented fraud, by an expert with the Financial Crimes Analyst (FCA) and Related Cases, Lead paper presenter at the Forum, Ben Anyalenkwe at the forum and as well as other stakeholders came up with a communique that contains a list of action points to be implemented by the telcos, banks, regulators, consumer advocacy bodies, law enforcement agencies, consumers as well as other institutions that are connected to taking concrete steps at mitigating cases of financial frauds using telecoms networks in Nigeria.
Chairman ICAF, Prince Igho Majemite and Chairperson ICAF, Professor Felicia Monye, emphasized that consumers must arm themselves with the various laws that are related to the Telecom industry while imploring consumers to always take the time to go through the various terms of service provision and be weary of the kind of links they click on and offers they subscribe to in order to avoid falling victims of fraud.
The forum also provided an interactive panel discussion which had the Telecom Regulator, Managers of Financial Institutions, Service Providers, and official from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which engaged the participants on how to avoid falling victim of scam.
The Industry Consumer Advisory Forum with the theme: “Financial Fraud Using Telecoms Platforms: What Consumers Need to Know”, was well attended by institutional members of ICAF, stakeholders from the telecoms/ financial sectors; law enforcement agencies as well as consumer advocacy groups all of whom were convened by the Commission to deliberate on financial frauds using the telecoms platform and what consumers need to know to be protected.