By Jessica Dogo
Abuja – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted Nigerians on the increasing incidents of fraud across various platforms, especially social media networks, urging them to protect their accounts against such frauds.
NCC Director, Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the warning was in line with functions and objectives of the commission under the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, which was to promote and protect the interests of telecom consumers.
Adinde advised telecom consumers using social media platforms to be alert and wary of the wiles of fraudsters and other unscrupulous persons, in order not to fall victims of their antics.
He explained that the latest scams usually take the form of vishing, which included fraudulent phone calls from people who may claim to be calling on behalf of a known and credible organisation.
He said that the intention of the fraudsters was to gain access to the target’s personal social media account or other identity resources to perpetrate fraud.
He, however, explained that vishing was a form of phishing, which was punishable under Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act of 2015.
“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 takeover the social media account of an individual or group.
“Consequently, the Commission wishes to inform the general public 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.
“The Commission has 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,” he said.
Adinde noted 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.
According to him, the Commission considers it necessary to post the recording online to educate the general public on how fraudsters play tricks on people to defraud them.
“Kindly visit the Commission’s Twitter Handles @ngcomcommission or @consumersncc to listen to the tape and other updates in this regard.
“The Commission hereby also assures telecom consumers that 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,” he said.
He urged telecom consumers to ensure that they put in place necessary security measures to protect their online activities, as well as remain alert to the prowling fraudsters on various platforms on the Internet.
“It is important that telecom consumers 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.
“Telecoms Consumers 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.
“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).
“In order to ensure that telecom networks are not used to perpetrate crimes, the Commission appeals to all telecom consumers to forward complaints on suspected fraudulent calls to the Commission through our email at firstname.lastname@example.org,” he said.