NCC bans loan app from illegal use of telecoms subscribers’ phone numbers

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has issued a stern warning to loan app companies and telemarketers over their unauthorised usage of telecoms subscribers’ phone numbers for commercial activities.

The commission, in a public notice released on Thursday, said anyone caught in the act would be arrested and prosecuted.

The telecom regulator considers the use of people’s phone numbers without the subscribers’ express consent to be a violation of privacy.

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It continued by stating that the telemarketers’ claims that they obtained the numbers from the NCC and the national database of registered SIMs were bogus.

The commission, however, urged telecom customers to use the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Short Code, which was issued by the NCC to manage their subscription to Value Added Services and to opt out of unsolicited text messages and other telemarketing pitches. To do this, send the word “STOP” to the short code 2442 for FULL DND.

Additionally, it advised telecom customers who witness such unlawful telemarketing practices to report such incidents to the commission by calling the NCC Toll-Free Number 622 so that the appropriate enforcement measures can be taken.

The notice reads: “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 Identity 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.”

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