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NCC to prosecute loan apps, telemarketers over fraudulent acts

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised loan app companies and telemarketers to discontinue the unauthorized usage of people’s phone numbers for commercial activities or face prosecution for violating appropriate laws on right to privacy in the country.

The Commission, in a public notice posted on its website, clearly stated that using people’s phone numbers without the permission of the subscribers constituted a breach of privacy.

It debunked telemarketers’ claims that they got the numbers from the NCC, and the national database of registered SIMs, saying such claims are outright falsehood.

The NCC stated: “The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been drawn to the criminal activities of telemarketers who illegally access the telephone numbers of telecom subscribers for their commercial activities and gains.

“These telemarketers also falsely claim that they obtain telecom consumers’ phone numbers from the Nigerian Communications Commission. Otherwise, they claim that the Commission gave them access to the numbers through the Subscriber ldentity Module (SIM) Registration Database. These claims are not true.

“The Commission fully abides by the principles and rules guiding the protection of privacy as a right of all consumers and users of telecommunications services.

“Therefore, no service provider or telemarketer is authorized to invade, harvest, or use subscriber data in any form or guise without the express approval of the consumer, except otherwise provided by law.

“The protection of the data of telecom subscribers by the Commission is guaranteed in Section 35 (1) of the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, 2007; Section 9 (1) of the Nigerian Communications (Registration of Communications Subscribers) Regulations, 2022; and Section 4.2 (a) &< (b) of the NCC’s Internet Code of Practice.

“Therefore, any telemarketer involved in harvesting telecom subscribers’ phone numbers and other personal details through dishonest means and using such for commercial purposes without regulatory approval is hereby strongly warned to desist from this illegal act, as anyone found guilty shall be arrested and prosecuted in keeping with the law”, the NCC stressed.

The telecom sector regulator also reminded telecom subscribers to activate the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Short Code introduced to manage their subscription to Value Added Services with the option to stop unsolicited text messages and other telemarketing offers.

According to the commission, subscribers can do this by sending ‘STOP’ to 2442 Short Code for FULL DND.

It also urged telecom consumers, who noticed such illegal activities by telemarketers, to report such cases to it by calling the NCC Toll-Free Number 622 for necessary enforcement actions.

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