By Kunle Adedoyin
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has made the process of replacing lost, stolen or damaged Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards more stringent in order to protect telecommunications consumers.
Amina Shehu, NCC Director, Zonal Operations, in a statement on Sunday in Lagos, said before replacing a SIM card, consumers are required to identify themselves properly through court affidavit, national identification card (or other valid IDs), SIM pack, among other requirements.
She said the process was reviewed and made more stringent, to ensure that telecom subscribers are well protected from being victims of SIM swap fraud.
Shehu said the commission has found that, at times, a subscriber might be having issues with his or her phone number, thinking that it is a network issue.
She added that by the time the subscriber discovered what is happening, money would have been fraudulently taken out of his or her bank account.
The NCC top shot said SIM swap or replacement has a lot of issues attached to it because, often times, a lot of people who are not the owners of some numbers do SIM swap at various customer centres of the service providers.
”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 NCC will 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,” she said.
She said that consumers are frowning at being asked to bring court affidavit, national identification card (or other valid IDs), SIM pack, among other requirements.
Shehu said that the regulatory body has noted that there is likelihood by subscribers to think that network providers are putting them through stress to have their SIM replaced.
”But what telecoms consumers should know is that they must appreciate the fact that information being required from them is to establish that anybody coming for SIM swap proves that the number requested to be swapped belongs to him/her.
”Consumers should immediately report to their respective banks to block their accounts, once they lose SIMs linked with their bank accounts,” she said.
The director said the commission has other initiatives aimed at protecting the consumers, which include the activation of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code to curb unsolicited text messages.
She said with NCC’s toll-free line 622, consumers can report complains pertaining to unresolved issues including quality of service, billing issues, mobile number portability (MNP) as well as issues revolving around data descriptions and renewals to the Commission.
Shehu urged telecommunications consumers to be ambassadors of the commission by assisting to pass the information to people to be aware of such consumer-centric initiatives.