House of Reps Warn NCC, Banks, Service Providers against SIM Swarp Fraud

Frown at NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Danbatta for his unexplained absence

BY OBUTE JAMES

The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on the Increasing Incidents of SIM Swap Fraud on Monday warned the management of Nigeria Communication Commission as well as banks telecommunication service providers against SIM swarp fraud which has brought untold hardship to so many people who lost their money.

The ad hoc committee chaired by Hon. Abubakar Hassan Fulata said the entire public hearing revolves around NCC but its Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta was absent without any formal communication with the secretariat explaining his absence.

Fulata insisted that Danbatta must be physically present during the on-going public hearing because of its importance. “How will you feel that you wake up one day and discover that all your money has been wiped out from your account,” Fulata lamented.

Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who declared the event opened said all telephone users and bank customers are vulnerable to SIM card swap fraud.

Gbajabiamila who was represented by the acting House Leader, Peter Akpatason said now that Nigeria is moving toward cashless economy all effort must be made by relevant authorities and stakeholders to fight cyber crimes.

Hon. Fulata in his opening remark said “SIM swap ordinarily is the transfer of mobile number from one SIM card to another. The fraud associated with this process occurs when fraudster gather customer’s/victims personal information through whatever means then approaches the mobile operator with request to have that particular SIM blocked.

“The increasing widespread nature of this fraud has made many Nigerians lose interest in mobile and internet banking facilities especially in the face of the buck passing between the banks and the telecommunication operator as to whether victims of financial frauds should be classified as bank customers or as telecommunication operators’ customers.

“In my humble opinion and in the interest of vulnerable innocent citizens , who are victims of the fraud, genuine and sincere ways of curbing this problem must be the major concern of all the stakeholders, because of the alarming rate at which this menace is growing and the adverse socio-economic consequence it portends.”

Fulata said “there are certain fundamental challenges which must be urgently addressed such as the porous state of our digital nation’s critical infrastructure, SIM card standardization issues which entail manufacturing quality and security etc and most importantly, the obsolete equipment, networking devices and transmission process of the service provider.

“The service providers in their service delivery still operate the IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) instead of the IPv6.

He said unless drastic action is taken, to address this dangerous nascent phenomenon, the confidence of ordinary Nigerian in the banking industry will be completely eroded.

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