By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged all telecom consumers using any social media platform to be careful of the new tricks being employed by fraudsters and other unscrupulous persons.
This was contained in a press statement by the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, who explained that the commission has discovered these latest scams come in the form of vishing and smishing.
Vishing is the fraudulent practice of making phone calls or leaving voice messages purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as bank details and credit card numbers.
Smishing, on the other hand, is a cyberattack that uses misleading text messages to trick victims into sharing valuable information, installing malware, or giving away money.
Due to increased internet usage and other electronic communications, the commission is warning telecom consumers and the general public of the possibility of an upsurge in cybercrimes, including but not limited to vishing (voice phishing) and smishing (SMS phishing).
The commission further disclosed that “vishing is a form of phishing which is punishable under Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act of 2015.”
“The commission has observed that most times, when a receiver of such calls acts as the caller directs, the Facebook or other social media accounts targeted by the caller would be taken over by such persons, who may then proceed as impostors, soliciting funds from and/or enticing friends of their victims into fraudulent business transactions in order to swindle them.”
“These increasingly popular incidents typically start with a phone call from fraudsters requesting the call receiver to perform a certain task for the caller, which will enable the caller (usually part of a wider network of syndicates) to swiftly take over the social media account of an individual or group.”
“To illustrate the insidious dimension of this development, a recording of an attempt by a person to extract information was made available to the commission by a telecom consumer.
The commission said it considered it necessary to post the recording online to educate the general public about how fraudsters play tricks on people to defraud them.
It urged Nigerians to visit its Twitter handles (@ngcomcommission or @consumersncc) to listen to the tape and other updates in this regard.
In line with its functions and objectives under the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, to promote and protect the interests of telecom consumers, the commission assured telecom consumers that all the numbers reportedly used to perpetrate these crimes are being investigated and thereafter, appropriate actions will be taken in that regard as prescribed by relevant laws.
“It is important that telecom consumers do not give out any information about their accounts or other online transaction details to unknown persons who pose as representatives of known organisations (such as Pension Administrators, Bankers, Insurers, Mobile Money Service Providers, Telecom Services Providers, Social Media Accounts, Group Administrators, etc.).
“Telecoms consumers should also be less revealing about their personal lives and details on online platforms in order not to give fraudulent persons the opportunity to target them for scams,” the commission added.
In order to ensure that telecom networks are not used to perpetrate crimes, the agency appealed to all telecom consumers to forward complaints on suspected fraudulent calls to the commission via email at consumer email@example.com.
Accordingly, the NCC urged telecom consumers to ensure that they put in place the necessary security measures to protect their online activities, as well as remain alert to the prowling fraudsters on various platforms on the Internet.
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