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Monday, May 04, 2009

MTN warns customers against fraudsters’ SMS, emails

Leading telecommunications operator in the country, MTN Nigeria Communications, has warned its customers against the prevailing fraudsters who are currently bent on contacting unsuspecting subscribers across the country in attempts to dupe them.

Addressing a press conference at the weekend, MTN’s top management team, including the Corporate Services Executive, Mr. Wale Goodluck and the Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Bola Akingbade, told newsmen in Lagos, that the warning became necessary to save its customers’ the agony of falling victim to these fraudsters.

According to them, these fraudsters seek to dupe members of the public, especially its customers and have progressed from sending text messages to calling up unsuspecting subscribers, and informing them they have won cash and other gifts.

In addition, they alleged that unsuspecting members of the public may be asked to part with some form of consideration in the form of cash or airtime in order to redeem their gifts.

In many instances, they noted that victims have also been asked to provide personal and financial information.

ITRealms Online recalled that this is the second press meeting this year that MTN Nigeria has called to address this issue.

“This is a new twist to existing fraudulent schemes wherein certain individuals rely on text messages to attempt to con unsuspecting subscribers out of their money,” said Goodluck, stressing that now calls are being made, “usually with withheld numbers by these individuals whose intent are to lure subscribers to part with money or credit or give out information that could be used to dupe them in the nearest future.

He also said MTN had received a growing number of queries from subscribers seeking to find out the authenticity of such calls, emails and texts by people masquerading as MTN officials.

“We wish to tell our valued customers that they should not fall prey to the antics of these fraudsters”, Goodluck said.MTN officials, he pointed out, would not request subscribers to send credit to them as part of the procedure for redeeming prizes won in a promotion.

“Our officials will not ask you for personal information such as your account number, bank name and ATM number or PIN in order to process your winning in any of our promos,” he said.

As said by him, MTN places high premium on the safety and wellbeing of its numerous subscribers and is committed to protecting them from the illegal activities of the con artists.

“We are working with security operatives in the country to tackle this challenge. But more importantly, we have put in place a number of measures, including radio jingles in the three major languages and Pidgin English, SMS warnings to our customers and advertorials in the national papers, to sensitize subscribers to this development and raise awareness level in order to ensure that these fraudsters are not successful in their illegal business. That is the best way to stop them,” he asserted.

In his part, the CMO, Mr. Akingbade said that MTN as a matter of policy does not send text messages to winners of its promos, insisting that instead promo winners are usually called and directed to the nearest MTN office to redeem their prizes.

In addition, he said the names of winners are published in national newspapers and on the company’s official website www.mtnonline.com.

He underlined the fact that MTN would never request any consideration, personal or bank information from any member of the public as a condition of receiving a prize. General Manager, Brand and Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Kola Oyeyemi, pointed out that despite all these, MTN would not be discouraged by these criminal activities, thus continue to launch various promotions in order to ‘reward and delight’ its customers.

He, however, cautioned that the public should pay close attention to the conditions of each promotion and only respond to invitations to MTN offices. Also present at the press conference were General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Funmi Omogbenigun;  General Manager, Planning and Customer Management, Mr. Andrew Esemezie and External Communications Manager, Mr. Andrew Okeleke, among many other MTN officials.

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