The SIM-NIN registration initiative was introduced with the aim of assisting authorities in curbing illegal activities by associating SIM cards with the personal details of their owners. Despite this intention, a concerning trend has emerged, as cybercriminals are now turning to the illicit purchase of pre-registered SIM cards to victimize unsuspecting individuals.
This unlawful trade and usage of pre-registered SIM cards persist, posing a significant challenge to efforts aimed at establishing the true identities of mobile phone users in Nigeria. The regulatory commission acknowledges reports indicating that these illegal activities are not isolated incidents; rather, they are being orchestrated to facilitate or contribute to various criminal acts, including armed robbery, kidnapping, financial fraud, terrorism, and other offenses.
The commission underscores the importance of public awareness, emphasizing that the laws, subsidiary legislations, and guidelines governing SIM card registration in Nigeria remain in force. Any engagement in activities related to the sale and use of pre-registered SIM cards is strictly prohibited, and the public is urged to adhere to these regulations to maintain the integrity and security of mobile communications in the country.
You should never use your NIN to register a sim for a friend, not even a family member!
Engaging in the sale or use of pre-registered SIM cards in Nigeria is subject to stringent penalties, as outlined by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). According to NCC regulations, the consequences for such actions involve a combination of fines, imprisonment, or both.
For telecom companies found involved in the distribution of pre-registered SIM cards, each instance incurs a substantial penalty, possibly amounting to N300,000 (though this figure may be subject to change). On the other hand, individuals caught using or possessing pre-registered SIM cards may face legal consequences that include imprisonment.
Despite the imposition of fines and reported arrests of sellers in various regions of the country, the prevalence of the sale and use of pre-registered SIM cards persists. This persistence underscores the ongoing challenge faced by regulatory authorities in curbing this illegal practice, and highlights the need for continued vigilance and enforcement measures to maintain the integrity of SIM card registration processes and ensure the security of telecommunications in Nigeria.
Suggested As A Way to curb Illegal Sim-NIN Registration Trade
SIM registration agents, in an alarming trend, are resorting to the use of other individuals\’ identities or information during the registration and distribution of SIM cards. These illicitly obtained SIM cards are then sold to criminally-minded individuals who seek to exploit them for fraudulent activities, providing a cloak of anonymity. This practice poses a significant challenge as the associated phone numbers do not trace back to the true identities of those committing the crimes.
To safeguard yourself during SIM card registration at any center, consider adopting the following three strategies:
Use Virtual NIN to Register Your Line
As the illegal sim-NIN registration continues to grow, National identification management commission (NIMC) thought of a way to curb the issue and that lead to the introduction of NIN tokenization also known as digital tokens and virtual NIN is one good example of it.
Virtual NIN is a sixteen (16) alpha-numeric digit that anybody in possession of NIN can use for any registration including sim registration. All you have to do is generate it using your NIN. See our guide on how to generate virtual NIN.
This NIN token can only be used once per registration. For example, if you are planning to register two sims of same mobile network, after registering the first sim, you have to regenerate the NIN token for the second sim registration.
However, Sim Reg agents are given the previllage to generate virtual NIN for subscribers, and as a result, agents may tend to regenerate NIN token and use for any illegal act they wishes to commit. This now lead us to the second guide…
After Every Successful Registration Insert the Registered Sim in your Phone
Report reaching us is that subscribers do ask agents to insert the sim in their phone and activate it. It is very wrong, why?
As earlier stated, any telecom agent involve in this act also implicate the company he or she is working for.The company will have to pay a fine on their behalf while the agent will face the jail term when caught.
On this mandate, telecom companies took charge by sending messages to subscribers who are purchasing new sims. These messages includes important info like how many sims you’ve registered listing out the phone numbers linked to your NIN in particular. You will be urged to check and confirm if actually you registered those lines and report to the nearest mobile Network office immediately if you are not responsible for any phone number listed there.
Now, you can see clearly that if you allow the agent to insert your newly registered sim in their phone, there is a high possibility that the agent will delete these messages and you may not have the chance to see it ever again.
However, please be aware that in rare cases, you may not receive these messages due to the network fluctuation in your area. In this case, follow up with the next step.
Check And Confirm the Phone Numbers Linked to your NIN
To show you how serious this case is, Mobile Network operators have provided a means for subscribers to check the phone numbers that are linked to their NIN. See our guide on how to check phone numbers linked to your NIN.
Why Do Agents Sale Pre-registered SIM Cards
We all understand how the Nigerian economy is, everyday the cost of commodities are on the high side. Truth be told, agents do make lots of gain by selling these already registered sims. An agent can make N1500 to N5000 profits per sim, all depending on how the agent sell the sim. You see how profitable it is!
In addition, not only is the sale of pre Registered sims profitable but also used by agents as a means to boost their daily, weekly, and monthly targets as set by the Telco firm.
Do Not Buy, Use or Sale a Pre-registered Sim
The repercussions of the sale of pre-registered SIM cards are profound and should not be underestimated, as it opens the door for innocent citizens to be wrongly implicated in criminal activities. The indiscriminate use of these pre-registered SIM cards, often acquired by seasoned criminals and individuals with malicious intent, poses a significant threat to public safety.
The utilization of pre-registered SIM cards provides a cloak for a range of unwholesome activities, including but not limited to kidnapping, call masking, threats to lives, bullying, armed robbery, identity theft, financial crimes, and SIM swap fraud. These actions not only jeopardize the security and well-being of individuals but also contribute to the perpetuation of various forms of criminal behavior.
In response to this escalating issue, the Commission strongly advises the general public to refrain from engaging in the sale, purchase, and use of pre-registered SIM cards. Emphasizing that such activities constitute a punishable offense under the law, the Commission urges citizens to uphold the regulations in place to safeguard the integrity of the telecommunication system and protect individuals from the harmful consequences associated with the illicit use of pre-registered SIM cards.
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