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Nigeria’s 199m Smartphone Users Become Target To Rising Fraudsters Even As NCC Investigates

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Since the pandemic which resulted in loss of jobs and slashing of salaries, there has been a surge in e-fraudulent activities. The telecoms regulator warns Nigerians to take necessary precautions against the rising cases as the major targets are owners of smartphones in Nigeria.

In a statement made available to Technology Times, an official from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) alerted Nigerians to be wary of anonymous calls claiming to be from reputable financial institutions. He said:

“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 telecoms regulator warns Nigerians to take necessary precautions against the rising cases as the major targets are owners of smartphones in Nigeria. #Cybercrime #fraud Click To Tweet

Phishing is a fraudulent practice of making phone calls purporting to be a representative of a reputable company in order to propel individuals to reveal sensitive information, such as bank details and credit card numbers. Unfortunately, many victims of vishing are people who are not tech savvy. 

Shortly after the government made a promise to send palliatives to Nigerians, fraudsters used this information to swindle monies from unsuspecting victims. Even though financial institutions send messages and mails to create an awareness to let their customers know about the newest systems of fraud, more and more Nigerians continue to fall victim. 

Most recently, the targets are social media users. In the wake of an increased internet usage, the commission has issued a warning to the general public of the possibility of a surge in cybercrimes.  

The most common is “the flip cash investment.” The fraudsters claim to triple the investments of their victims. According to them, they partner with western union and they invest in bitcoin. They tell their victims that Bitcoin is an online investment that increases funds in minutes. As unrealistic as this sounds, many have fallen victim. While some people think they fall for such a trap is due to increased poverty, others believe it’s due to greed.

In many occasions, the fraudsters show fake proofs to convince their victims in order to swindle them. To make it further believable, they hack accounts of very active social media users with a large following and attach proofs to entice the friends and followers of the owner. Facebook has warned that subscribers should ensure the two-factor authentication to protect their accounts from hackers.    

The NCC acknowledges that the telecoms regulator is on the trail of the fraudulent acts as all the numbers reportedly used to perpetrate such crimes are currently under investigation with appropriate measures to punish culprits. The commission has urged Nigerians to be extra cautious of fraudsters and their activities online and offline. Accordingly, if Nigerans heed to the following precautionary measures, they can wilfully escape the trap set by fraudsters:

  1. Ensure you do not give out personal information about your credit cards or ATM cards, in some cases, the first 4 digits might look the same. It’s a trap if they call out your first 4 digits correctly. No reputable financial organisation will request for such information that is privy to only you over the phone.
  2. Don’t be carried away by proofs of money-doubling activities. There is no legitimate money doubling institution in any part of the world.
  3. Ensure you reveal less about yourself and personal life on social media platforms in order not to give yourself away to the fraudsters.

A report in 2016 had shown that the introduction of the BVN had led to a decline in internet fraud. However, fraudsters are not sleeping as they would continue to invent means to scam unsuspecting victims. Should you have fraudulent phone calls, forward complaints to the commission through their email at consumerportal@ncc.gov.ng

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