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Monday, 16 October 2017

FG to ban use of SMS to send customers’ bank details

FG to ban use of SMS to send customers’ bank details

Umar Danbatta

* As NCC boss accuses banks of conniving with fraudsters

* Says banks under-reporting fraud cases for fear of desertion by customers

* ‘Non-disclosure of fraud cases militating against cybersecurity’

The sending of vital bank details via short message services (SMS) may soon be banned in Nigeria because of its associated risks.

To this extent, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it was already engaging with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to find better ways of doing it.

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Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made this known at the consumer conversation held in Minna, Niger State capital, adding that the commission was already engaging with the CBN to find ways to ensure that mobile phone users’ vital information relating to their bank accounts and financial transactions were not jeopardised should their phones get lost or stolen.

Director and the Head of Zonal Operations Department, Helen Obi, who represented Danbatta at the event, said NCC would shield phone users in the country against any harm that could get to them or to their property through the use of telecom services.

Obi advised phone users to adequately protect their PINs and not carelessly save them in their phones.

Also, the NCC told all telecom operators in the country to give a 14-day grace for subscribers to exhaust their remaining data after the 30 days’ expiration period before they are cut off.

The NCC has accused Nigerian banks of shielding fraudsters who cart away depositors’ money through different guise.
The telecommunications’ regulator also alleged that there were more cases of bank frauds more than what banks are willing to disclose.

Danbatta said this in Minna, while presenting a paper titled: ‘Promoting Regulatory Framework for Safety and Security on the Internet,’ at the North Central Zonal Internet Governance Forum.

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According to him, “Banks are unwilling to discuss the fraud that happens within the banks due to the fear of liquidation or loss of customers.”

He said: “The banks do not report a lot of fraud cases, because of liquidation problems. They are scared that their customers will leave if they report such incidences. These banks feel that the customers will not have confidence in them anymore.”

He explained that the non-disclosure by the banks is militating against the statistics towards ensuring cyber security, stressing that it is only collaboration between private and public organisations that could help build the capacity of cyber security policies across the nation.

Statistics showed that more banks have recorded Internet- related fraud-related cases in the first half of this year.

Other serious bank frauds, as indicated by the CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), among other agencies, showed that insider abuses accounted for greater percentage of infractions and challenges faced by the sector.

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But The Daily Times gathered that the CBN, NDIC, banks and other regulators have been doing all they could to minimise bank frauds over the years, given the far reaching implications of the problem if not checked, including taking stringent actions, such as arrests, forfeiture of properties and convictions of suspects.

The chairperson of the forum, Mrs. Mary Uduma, noted that the need for adequate sensitisation to be done about cyber security and dangerous speeches.

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