Data breach: EFCC, CBN, NITDA, FCCPC to crack down on rogue loan apps
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have commenced rights violation investigation and accusation of data breach levelled against micro-money lending industry in Nigeria popularly referred to as quick loan companies or quick loan apps.
A document signed by Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC for the Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Committee, said this in Abuja on Monday.
Mr Irukera said the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency were also members.
He disclosed that the committee would lead efforts to address multiple potentially dubious conducts of certain money lenders, otherwise known as loan sharks who are mostly in data breach of their customers, violating their right to privacy and others charging astronomical interest rate and illegal service fees.
According to him, the meeting resolved to collaborate, pursue urgent enforcement action against already known violators while investigating others, as well as criminal prosecutions for data breach and other related offences where applicable.
He regretted that the act was fast becoming a dominant and abusive practice targeting some of the most vulnerable in society.
“Continuing complaints about questionable repayment enforcement practices including public shaming and violations of privacy have led to significant and understandable consumer aggravation and dissatisfaction.
“Others are arbitrary, unjust, unreasonable, or exploitative interest rates and or loan balances calculations, harassment and failure of consumer feedback mechanisms, among others have caused consumer aggravation.
“Initial inquiries demonstrate that many of the purported lenders are not legally acceptably established or otherwise licensed by the appropriate authorities to engage in the services they ostensibly provide.
“A joint taskforce of analysts and enforcers was also created and immediately activated.
“The agencies recognised and welcome products and providers that bridge the lending gap for consumers who would otherwise be ineligible for conventional loans from traditional financial institutions.
“However, this must occur within legally acceptable parameters of transparency and fairness,’’ he said.
Mr Irukera said in furtherance of resolutions from the meeting, the commission had created a dedicated email address to receive complaints, identity of businesses or individuals involved in these practices.
He said the e-mail address is email@example.com.
Most of the digital lending platform are guilty of data breach and have turned into loan sharks terrorising Nigerians with extremely high interest rate sometimes as high as 50% for 7 days tenure and then later harassing the consumers and their contacts with malicious and defamatory words even when it’s still a day to the loan expiration. This is unethical.
Many of the loan apps now charge illegal loan service fees while feigning to have low interest. This is unacceptable.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) earlier released a press statement vowing to sanction and rein on loan apps and their lending platforms over these unethical practices of data breach. The lending companies blackmail and threaten customers, their family members and their contact lists who were never parties to the loan agreement, whenever there is an alleged repayment default.
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