The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has introduced various measures to address e-fraud risks and upholds its commitment to fostering the sustainable growth of the telecommunications sector.

This was revealed by Alhaji Alkasim Abubakar Umar, the Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau at the NCC, during the recently concluded 2nd Quarter 2023 Open Forum of the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF).

The forum, held under the theme “Combating E-fraud on Telecom Platforms and Building Consumer Confidence in the Digital Economy,” shed light on the staggering N12.5 billion lost to financial crimes in the telecommunications industry over the past four years.

“The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated that 600 billion US Dollars is lost to cybercrime each year, an increase from a 2014 study that put global losses at about 445 billion US Dollars.

“In Africa, the peril of cybercrimes recorded a massive rise in the first six months of 2022, “with phishing and scams hitting 438 percent and 174 percent in Kenya and Nigeria, respectively”, the Guardian Newspapers reported on August 3, 2022.

“E-fraud poses a significant threat to our society, as it undermines the trust and confidence in our digital platforms, hampers economic growth, and adversely impacts the lives of our citizens. As the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing the telecommunications industry, the NCC recognizes its duty to safeguard the interests of consumers and protect the integrity of our digital ecosystem.

“This forum provides us with an opportunity to come together as stakeholders, including telecom operators, financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, government bodies, and concerned citizens, to collaborate and devise effective strategies to combat e-fraud.

“However, we understand that the battle against e-fraud requires constant adaptation and continuous improvement. Hence, this forum serves as a platform to share best practices, exchange knowledge, and explore innovative solutions to stay ahead of the ever-evolving tactics employed by fraudsters.

“I encourage all participants to actively engage in discussions, share their experiences, and propose practical recommendations. Let us leverage the collective expertise in this room to develop strategies that strike a balance between convenience and security, ensuring that our telecom platforms remain safe and trustworthy.

“Moreover, I urge all stakeholders to prioritize consumer education and awareness. By equipping individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify and report e-fraud, we can empower them to protect themselves and contribute to the broader fight against cybercrime.”

He added: “The Consumer is one of the major stakeholders in the telecoms industry. It is our desire as a Commission to ensure that they enjoy primary focus. We believe that through adequate education, information sharing, and the provision of an array of channels for redress, we can safeguard telecom consumers, and innovatively promote the prospect for greater Consumer Experience in the Digital Economy. Together, we can build a culture of digital literacy and resilience that safeguards our nation’s digital future.”

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