How to Check Who Is Using Your National ID Number (NIN)

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The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) intensified efforts to curb the fraudulent registration of SIM cards by mandating a stringent verification process using the National Identification Number (NIN).

This initiative is part of an ongoing battle against cybercrime, leveraging the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) to safeguard citizens’ digital identities.

Since the introduction of National Identity cards in 2014, NINs have become integral to accessing various government and private sector services.

Initially, telecom subscribers were required to input their NINs to register SIM cards. However, this system was vulnerable to abuse, with many registering SIM cards under NINs that were not their own.

In response, UCC issued a directive to all telecom operators, including Airtel Uganda, MTN, and Lycamobile, to implement the short code *197# for customers to verify the numbers registered under their NINs. This self-verification tool is a significant step forward in protecting consumers from identity theft and unauthorized use of their NINs.

*How to Use the 197# Verification Service

To check which numbers are registered under your NIN, customers across all networks can dial *197# and follow the prompts:

  • Airtel Uganda: Dial *197#, select option 3, and enter your NIN.
  • MTN: Dial *197#, select option 2, and enter your NIN.
  • Lycamobile: Dial *197#, select option 1, and enter your NIN.

This easy-to-use service allows users to quickly identify any unauthorized numbers linked to their NIN.

Addressing Unauthorized Registrations

If customers find unknown numbers registered under their NIN, they can demand the deactivation of these numbers. This process involves fulfilling specific identification requirements with both the telecom company and NIRA to ensure the rightful owner’s information is accurately recorded.

Regulatory Compliance and Sanctions

The UCC’s directive, issued on March 26, 2018, also includes a compliance assessment for all telecom operators. Failure to adhere to these regulations will result in stringent sanctions. The commission’s proactive stance underscores the importance of protecting citizens’ digital identities and ensuring a secure telecommunications environment.

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