The telecoms regulator has warned of rising cases of e-frauds targeting over 199 million phones in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s connected community has come under rising attacks of Vishing, “which are fraudulent phone calls from people who may claim to be calling on behalf of a known and credible organisation, with the intention to gain access to the target’s personal social media account or other identity resources to perpetrate fraud”, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) alerted Thursday in a statement made available to Technology Times.
Nigeria is home to 199,307,796 active phones and 147,148,307 internet connections as of July this year, according to official information from the NCC.
Under Attack: Phone users in Nigeria targeted by rising e-frauds, NCC says.
Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs at NCC says the telecoms regulator “is once again compelled to alert the general public to the increasing incidents of fraud across various platforms, especially on social media networks.”
Due to the rising cases of the attacks NCC “hereby advises telecom consumers using any social media platform to be alert and wary of the wiles of fraudsters and other unscrupulous persons, in order not to fall victim to their antics.”
According to Adinde, “in the wake of increased internet usage and other electronic communications, the Commission also wishes to warn telecom consumers and the general public of the possibility of an upsurge in cybercrimes, including but not limited to Vishing (Voice Phishing) and Smishing (SMS Phishing).”
According to him, Vishing, which is a form of Phishing, is punishable under Nigerian laws as provided for in Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act of 2015.
Adinde says “these increasingly popular incidents typically start with a phone call from fraudsters requesting the call receiver to perform a certain task for the caller, which will enable the caller (usually part of a wider network of syndicates) to swiftly take over the social media account of an individual or group.”
NCC says it observed that most times, “when a receiver of such calls acts as the caller directs, the Facebook or other social media accounts targeted by the caller would be taken over by such persons, who may then proceed as impostors, soliciting funds from and/or enticing friends of their victims into fraudulent business transactions in order to swindle them.”
NCC warns that “such calls and antics are initiated and carried out by unscrupulous persons, usually with the intent to defraud unsuspecting citizens and or commit other heinous crimes.”
Adinde says that “to illustrate the insidious dimension of this development, a recording of an attempt by a person to extract information was made available to the Commission by a telecom consumer. The Commission considers it necessary to post the recording online to educate the general public about how fraudsters play tricks on people to defraud them.”
Adinde says the telecoms regulator is on the trail of the fraudulent acts as “all the numbers reportedly used to perpetuate these crimes are being investigated and thereafter, appropriate actions will be taken in that regard as prescribed by relevant laws.”
To beat fraudsters, NCC advises telecoms consumers and Nigeria’s connected community to take the following steps:
- ensure that they put in place the necessary security measures to protect their online activities, as well as remain alert to the prowling fraudsters on various platforms on the internet;
- they do not give out any information about their accounts or other online transaction details to unknown persons who pose as representatives of known organisations (such as Pension Administrators, Bankers, Insurers, Mobile Money Service Providers, Telecom Services Providers, Social Media Accounts, Group Administrators, etc.);
- should also be less revealing about their personal lives and details on online platforms in order not to give fraudulent persons the opportunity to target them for scams;
- forward complaints on suspected fraudulent calls to the Commission through our email at firstname.lastname@example.org.