NITDA DG Isa Pantami/

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has disclosed different ways cybercriminals are using to defraud Nigerians of their hard earned money, including swapping of mobile phone SIM cards.

In a statement released by the Agency in Abuja on Tuesday, the Director General, NITDA, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, said it had become imperative to enlighten Nigerians on how the criminals were operating given the increasing incidences of fraud through the cyberspace.

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He listed a number of ways through which the criminals obtain information from their potential victims, including swapping of SIM cards to ensure that victims were not alerted when their funds were being stolen through online banking transactions.

Ibrahim said, “There has been a tremendous increase in the number of incidences where Nigerians have lost money and data through vulnerabilities arising from lack of knowledge on how to manage their online presence and personal details.

“The cybercriminals use social engineering, phishing mails, and probably specific to Nigeria, the use of text messages pretending to be sent from banks, requesting for PIN or revalidation of Bank Verification Numbers.

“To the unaware, such are the sources where vital information needed for making unauthorised withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts occur. A more worrisome and recent trend is the SIM swap cases where the victim’s SIM card is swapped; an operation that makes the victim’s phone inaccessible while funds are transferred.”

He added, “Cyber security has attracted the attention of governments, enterprises, groups and individuals owing to the myriads of potential for business growth, damage, national security and sovereignty.

“To nations, the negatives could cripple a nation’s economy should critical infrastructure be affected. The International Telecommunications Union has evaluated nations in the Global Cyber-security Index, placing Nigeria on number four in Africa.”

The NITDA boss said that as a result of the increasing activities of cybercriminals in the country, the agency would be holding workshop in cities across the country in order to arm citizens with the information and knowledge required to move ahead of criminals.