Nigerian Communications Commission NCC
Nigerian Communications Commission building

There seems to be a brewing crisis between Telecom service provider and commercial banks over the increasing incidence of SIM swap fraud in the country.

Speaking at the inauguration of the newly elected executives of Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF),  the Executive Secretary, Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbolahan Awonuga, noted that telecos should not be blamed for losing cash to fraudsters through SIM swap. According to him victims should blame their banks for whatever happened to the money kept in the custody of the banks.

Recall that NCC had earlier accused banks of complicity over the increasing wave Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) swap fraud in the country.

How does SIM swap fraud work?

  • Your potential victim’s phone network will momentarily go blind (No Signal / Zero Bars) and after a while a call will come through.
  • The hacker on the other side will tell the victim to Please press 1 on the phone to get the network back.
  • Once this happens the victim’s phone will lose connection to the network again and the fraudster will receive all the SMS and voice calls intended for the victim.
  • This allows the fraudster to intercept any one-time password OTP sent via SMS or telephone calls sent to the victim; and thus to circumvent any security features of accounts (be they bank accounts, social media accounts etc.) that rely on SMS or telephone calls.

Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) at NCC, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulan, said the regulator has not given the telcos a clean bill of health on the matter, insisting that it is curious how services actually disappear from victim’s phones giving credibility to the directive of the fraudsters for victims to switch off their phones.

 

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