Nigeria’s telecommunications industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the weekend said that it had modified the process of replacing SIM cards.
The Director of Zonal Operations of the commission, Mrs. Amina Shehu, who gave this hint at a Consumer Conversation Programme in Lafia, Nasarawa State, explained that the step was necessitated by the need to review and make the process of replacing lost, stolen or damaged SIM cards more stringent to prevent SIM cards swapping for fraudulent purposes.
Represented at the programme by a Principal Manager in Zonal Operations, Mr Ekisola Oladisun, the zonal director confirmed that the commission had discovered that at times a subscriber may be having issues with their phone numbers, thinking that it is a network issue but that by the time they discovered what is happening, money had been fraudulently taken out of their bank accounts.
According to her, said SIM swap or replacement fraud has a lot of issues attached to it because, often times, a lot of people who are not the owners of some numbers go to do SIM swap at various customer centres of the service providers for fraudulent purposes.
She said: “There have been cases of fraudulent activities done on people’s bank accounts as a result of SIM swap and the victims often complain to the commission expecting that the NCC would compensate them.
“To stop this SIM swap fraud, the commission in 2017 developed ‘Guidelines on SIM Replacement’, which sets water-tight rules for telecoms consumers to replace their SIM card when there is a need for it.
“The guidelines set stringent conditions which require that consumers identify themselves properly before replacing lost SIM. This is to ensure that telecoms subscribers are well protected from becoming victims of SIM swap fraud”, Shehu added.