A FAKE Facebook account, purportedly belonging to Nigeria’s telecommunications sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has been used to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
Checks by The ICIR revealed that the fake Facebook account, with the title – ‘Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) official website’ is described as a ‘public group’ which is opened for members of the public to join.
Further checks on the wall of the Facebook account indicate that the ‘ purported NCC official website’ has recorded 1000 members as of July 20, 2020, according to a post made by one ‘Medalof Honour’, who appears to be the major promoter of the platform.
Various posts made by Medalof Honour suggests that the Facebook account ‘offers’ business opportunities for members of the public who are interested in investing in the telecommunications sector.
A post by Medalof Honour, dated July 20, 2020, and captioned ‘Business Monday’, read, “With just N5000 you have become a recharge card, GOTV, DSTV, Startimes subscription, transferring of money, even paying of NEPA bills, dealer. Why sit and wait for success? Work for it. Say hi and am ready today to explain to you.”
Another post by Medalof Honour on the purported NCC official website Facebook account reads, “Good afternoon. Trust your day is moving normal(sic). I have an opportunity I believe you might be interested in. This opportunity is for you if you have a mobile smartphone, you buy airtime recharge, you subscribe for data, you subscribe for DSTV, GOTV, Startimes, you purchase electricity, You’ll buy WAEC, JAMB, etc (in the pipeline). Or you have people who do any of the above. Kindly respond if you will like to know more about the business opportunity. Thanks.”
Yet another post by the same individual said, “Here we teach you how to earn when you recharge or other people recharge and also how to subscribe GOTV, DSTV, Startimes and also paying of light bills. There is a lot in telecommunications business.”
Meanwhile, the NCC has warned members of the public to steer clear of the fake Facebook account.
The Commission said it discovered that the Facebook account was designed to deceive and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
The NCC, in a statement by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, the Director, Public Affairs, said the Facebook account was a case of “profile cloning”, a severe security concern in social media networks.
Profile cloning is a form of identity theft which involves the deliberate use of another person’s, or organisation’s, identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain other benefits in the other person’s or organisation’s name.
The person or organisation whose identity has been assumed may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are held responsible for the fraudulent transactions.
, “The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) wishes to draw the attention of the general public, especially telecoms consumers to a fraudulent and cloned Facebook profile account opened with a name similar to the Commission’s official name on the social media site,” the NCC statement read.
“The Commission, upon detecting the fake Facebook account with the name “NIGERIA COMMUNICATION COMMISSION OFFICIAL WEBSITE”, deems it fit to inform members of the public that this account is fake and fraudulent.”
It said that its findings have revealed that the fake Facebook group account was created a year ago and has since amassed followership, believed to have inadvertently signed on to the site.
“The NCC states that this is a typical case of profile cloning, which represents a severe security issue in social media networks,” it added.
“It is often used to create a fake profile identical to an original one, for the purpose of misleading the unsuspecting general public.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the official and authentic Facebook account of the Commission is: “NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION” with over 181,580 followers.
“The Commission strongly advises Nigerian citizens and all telecom consumers to beware of this fraudulent Facebook account as the NCC has no affiliation with it.
“It is what it is: A CLONED FACEBOOK ACCOUNT, meant to deceive and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.”
In the same vein, Professor Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, has advised individuals and corporate internet users to protect themselves against cyber-crimes.
In a statement issued on Sunday to herald the celebration of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October 2020, Danbatta observed that Internet users across mobile networks in Nigeria currently stand at 149.8 million as of August 2020, adding that more users are expected online as services in different sectors of the economy are becoming digitalised.
He said the NCC had embarked on policy initiatives aimed at enhancing online security, while also educating and equipping the consumers of telecoms services with the information they need to be protected online.