Phone crimes and service provider conspiracy – New Telegraph

Recently, the following short message service, SMS, text entered my cell phone: “ATM CARD RESTRICTED: Dear customer, due to CBN policy, your ATM has been disabled. To reactivate please call back” The text was sent from a phone number belonging to one of the service providers Global Service Mobile, GSM, in Nigeria. Using the Truecaller app, I searched for the number and the search result confirmed my fears: The message was fraudulent. The mobile number used to send the message was unknown, which means that the number was activated without being registered! I remember what Nigerian cellphone users like me went through initially to register my telephone lines and later to “update” the registration of telephone lines to comply with the Nigeria Communications Commission order (NCC); and I got angry.

Why would a GSM service provider continue to expose its Nigerian customers to scammers after all that Nigerians have gone through to avoid this? To be sure, I dialed the service provider’s customer service number and spoke with a customer service representative for five minutes and fifty-one seconds. It was after the call that my worst fears about the complicity of GSM service providers with fraudsters to harm phone users and the Nigerian public were confirmed!

The customer service agent profusely apologized to me for the scam text message, took my unregistered but activated and still active phone number and promised to forward it to their in-house “fraud unit” which, according to her, was established by the service provider. to deal with such cases. Dissatisfied with the customer service manager’s apology and explanation, I asked him two relevant questions: “Who activated this unregistered number that the fraudster used to send me the fraudulent message; and ostensibly to defraud reckless Nigerians of their hard earned money? When did NCC relax regulation/law on biological data and proper recording of all phone lines prior to activation? At this point, the customer service manager’s defenses and excuses on behalf of her establishment crumbled like a deck of cards.

I dropped the call and promised myself that I would not only escalate the service providers’ complicity in this crime of phone fraud, but that I would file a complaint with the appropriate regulators and follow up on the complaints. to logical conclusions.

It is enough that the Nigeria Communication Commission has been cleared of the record fine it levied against one of the service providers for allowing the use of unregistered lines on its network in the recent past. The intransigence of service providers, exemplified by my experience and the experiences of countless other Nigerians, raises serious concerns.

The Board members of the Commission are hereby challenged to demonstrate their concern for the welfare of the Nigerian masses by investigating the use of unregistered phone numbers and invoking severe sanctions against these companies. recalcitrant. Penalties such as paying adequate compensation to victims of fraud committed with unregistered phone numbers, fines and revocation of licenses of offending service providers won’t be bad!

I say this because it was both shocking and insulting that a few days after filing my complaint with the service provider, I called the same unregistered phone line and it was still ringing! Several efforts to speak with the service provider’s customer service staff were then unsuccessful as they told me they were busy. They did not call me back as promised. The Nigerian police, military as well as other security agencies should pay more than superficial attention to this particular report by convening a joint commission to investigate the service provider’s activities in this regard. This is necessary given the serious criminal and security implications of activating unregistered phone numbers to Nigerians and Nigeria.

The relevant National Assembly Committees should also seize the opportunity by invoking their constitutional oversight powers as enshrined in Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to protect Nigerians. It is strange that service providers continue to undermine the rights of the Nigerian masses in complete disregard of the laws of the land. If the Federal Government cannot provide basic amenities to its citizens, it should offer them basic protection against Shylock companies doing business on Nigerian soil. Nigerian leaders are reminded that kidnappers who use unregistered cellphone lines in ransom negotiations are more interested in the rich than the poor masses!

However, pending the reactions of the relevant authorities and agencies to this report, I believe it is of urgent public importance to advise my fellow Nigerians and residents to always ignore messages or calls from mobile phone lines. unregistered who urgently request information about their bank accounts. , automated teller machine (ATM) card numbers, bank verification numbers (BVN) and national identity numbers (NIN). The best way to deal with real or imagined problems related to bank accounts, ATM cards, BVN, etc. is to contact their bank physically or through previously established channels such as customer helplines or account agents. To be warned is to be warned.

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