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10.10.2022 Journalism Lagos Trader Afraid of Fraud After Allowing ‘Acquaintance’ Link His NIN to Her Phone Number

Published 10th Oct, 2022

By Segun Ige

A Lagos resident who simply identified herself as ‘Alhaja’ has expressed fears that she might lose all her life savings after allowing a an ‘acquaintance’ to link his National Identification Number (NIN) to her phone number while trying to help her activate it.

Alhaja, a petty trader who sells various goods that include honey and shea-butter in the Bariga area of Lagos, told FIJ she allowed the acquaintance link his NIN to her number because she was yet to visit any of the accredited centres to register for hers.

She went on to say the incident happened in September when she bought a new phone line for her business but did not have an NIN to link to it for activation.

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“I have discovered lately that I no longer receive messages and calls on my phone because I felt I could trust him in helping me sort out my phone number issue,” Alhaja said.

“The person in question is actually very close to me. One cannot just trust anybody in this life again.”

Alhaja said she confronted the NIN owner about the challenges she was facing with the phone line but he denied ever tampering with it.

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For fear that her account number could be hacked as a result of the incident, Alhaja now carries out her day-to-day business transactions with the help of a Point of Sale (PoS) operator who runs a shop close to her stand.

“Presently, and because I no longer receive phone calls and messages, especially bank transaction alerts on the line, I fear that my account can be hacked when payments are made into it,” the trader said.

“So, what I do is to make customers, who wish to transfer money into my account after buying things from me, send the money instead to the account of the POS operator.

“Afterwards, I then go to the operator to redeem the cash sent to him at a cost of N100.”

On Sunday afternoon, this FIJ reporter saw Alhaja redeem the sum of N2,000 at the POS close to her for a charge of N100 after a customer had transferred the sum to the operator.

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Alhaja subsequently complained that she was constantly running at a loss because customers would not add the N100 charge she regularly incurred to the N2000 payment they make to her.

In October 2021, Efosa Idehen, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau at the Nigerian Communications Commission, advised against telecommunication subscribers allowing NINs that are not theirs to be linked their phone lines.

“On no account should a telecom consumer, however circumstanced, allow another person to register a SIM with another person’s NIN,” Idehen said.

“If the person, whose SIM is linked to your line, uses their own SIM to commit crimes or any form of atrocities, it is easy to be traced to you and then, you will be dealt with because the SIM is linked to your NIN and vice versa.”

Published 10th Oct, 2022

By Segun Ige

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