Lagos, Nigeria – Nigerian police are urging citizens to activate locks on their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards to protect against cybercrime, following the arrest of a syndicate engaging in fraudulent activities.
Benjamin Hundeyin, the Public Relations Officer in Lagos, issued the advice through a Twitter post, where he revealed the details of the syndicate’s operations.
According to Hundeyin, members of the group would steal mobile phones, remove the SIM cards, and discard the devices. The criminals would then use the stolen SIM cards to access victims’ bank accounts via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) for purchasing airtime, as these transactions typically do not require a personal identification number (PIN).
Your bank debit alert follows and then they proceed to empty your account one way or the other. The only SIM cards the syndicate never succeeded with were ones with SIM lock. Activate your SIM lock today!
— SP Benjamin Hundeyin (@BenHundeyin) March 24, 2023
After gaining access to victims’ accounts, Hundeyin explained that the criminals would proceed to drain the funds through various means. However, he noted that the syndicate was unsuccessful in exploiting SIM cards that had an active lock. “The only SIM cards the syndicate never succeeded with were ones with SIM lock. Activate your SIM lock today,” Hundeyin urged.
This warning comes amid a sharp increase in unauthorized transfers and bill payments in Nigeria, prompting banks to issue reminders to their customers on how to safeguard their accounts. Activating a SIM lock serves as an additional layer of security, making it more difficult for criminals to gain unauthorized access to users’ accounts and personal information.
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