NCC Alerts Telecom Consumers on Rising Wave of Cybercrimes

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Telecommunication consumers have been urged to be alert to the rising wave of cybercrimes in the country. Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), raised the alarm in Nasarawa State at the 107th edition of the Consumer Outreach Programme (COP) with the theme: “Mitigating Effects of Cybercrimes: The Roles of Telecom Consumers” held today, Thursday, July 11, 2019.

Danbatta, who was represented by Ismail Adedigba, Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of the commission said the event was meant to sensitise telecom consumers on the rising wave of cybercrime in its various forms, its dangers and the role telecoms consumers were expected to play in reducing the impacts of cybercrimes.

He named some of the common cybercrimes as hacking, data identity theft, and SIM swap, which involves the shutting down of one’s phone by cyber attackers and hacking into their bank accounts attached to the SIM number.

The NCC boss who noted that the liberalisation of the telecoms industry had led to an unprecedented increase in the usage of internet-based solutions and services, urged consumers to learn how to protect themselves from being victims of cybercriminals.

Stressing the need to continuously keep stakeholders abreast of developments and issues in the telecoms industry, the executive vice chairman said the Commission strives to bring service providers, regulators, and consumers together to interact on telecom issues affecting consumers.

Danbatta also disclosed that the Commission had initiated a process to establish an Internet Industry Code of Practice for Internet Service Providers in the country.

The Internet Code is a regulatory intervention expected to secure the country’s cyberspace against imminent threats from cyber attackers as well as addressing issues such as online child protection, privacy, and data protection among others.

He charged participants to come up with solutions to tackle cybercrime and other challenges in the industry. “While the regulatory intervention and other initiatives are ongoing to sanitize our internet space, telecoms consumers must play their role……. I urge you to come up with useful suggestions and observations you may have on how we can jointly play roles towards reducing the effects of cybercrimes on telecoms consumers in this Broardband era,” he said.

Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, stressed the need for continued consumer education and awareness on how to protect telecom consumers.

“People complain to us about their money vanishing from their accounts, they go to service providers and the service providers will tell them, I do not have your money with me. Then they go to banks and the banks will say it was the service providers that provided the platform,” she noted.

Onwuegbuchulam urged the service providers to utilize their consumer complaint outreaches to address the complaints of consumers and educate them on how to protect themselves from falling victims of cybercriminals.

 “By all means by any means, make sure your consumers are informed and educated, in that way they will be empowered to protect themselves from falling victims of this menace,” she said.

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