Rising SIM swap fraud sends worries in mobile cash market

Safaricom has warned subscribers against fraudsters who steal from their accounts through SIM swap. Sim swap is the process of replacing...

M-Pesa money transfer service set on a handset. file
Safaricom has warned subscribers against fraudsters who steal from their accounts through SIM swap.
Sim swap is the process of replacing one’s lost mobile number. Many subscribers have been conned in fraudulent swaps.
On Friday, Safaricom asked subscribers to take precaution by keeping their Personal Identifiable Information (PIN) secret.
“As a precautionary measure against social engineering, enabled by sharing of personal details, we would like to remind our customers to safeguard information such as SIM and M-Pesa PINs, dates of birth and national ID numbers,” Safaricom director for risk management Nicholas Mulila said.
Carrying out a sim swap requires one to present their ID, sim PIN, last top up amount and other details including the most recent mobile money transactions as well as the last numbers the subscriber dialed or received calls from.
Sim swaps often happen when a subscriber loses their phone, mostly to retain their phone number for convenience.
Mulila asked subscribers to be wary of callers purporting to be the company’s customer care representatives. He asked customers to immediately end such calls and contact the firm’s customer care.
The warning came after a subscriber complained online that his sim had been swapped without his knowledge.
@sammy_ynwa shared his ordeal on Twitter. He said his SIM card was swapped without him sharing any personal information.
“I’m a victim of a scam that happened to me yesterday [Thursday]. I got a call and I quickly realised it was a con before I disconnected without sharing any information,” Sammy said.
He said he has never lost his ID or SIM card and that he doesn’t share his private information unnecessarily. “Someone targeted me. Someone who knows my M-Pesa transaction. It was not a random attack,” he said.
More subscriber came out and said the fraud happened even when they did not reveal their personal details. Sammy said he received a message from Safaricom notifying him that the firm had received his SIM swap request.
“Since I was not aware of any sim swap, I contacted @SafaricomPLC via Twitter and they assured me that my line was safe,” he said.
Conmen are calling unsuspecting Kenyans after which they top up the line being targeted and request for the user’s PUK number. Once they have the required information, they move to replace the line after which they attain full access of the user’s digital wallet and mobile banking platforms.
Mombasa resident John Ndinya @jndinya said he received a call from his bank notifying him of suspicious transactions after the fraudsters had swapped his sim.
“I reported the matter to @DCI_Kenya Mombasa. I was told if it’s Safaricom, there’s nothing they can do. I felt helpless,” Ndinya said.
Wakesho Mwagae @EileenWakesho said a conman called her and asked how many times she had registered her line.
“When I told him off and pretended that I work with Safaricom, he went and asked me to give him subscribers ID and phone numbers at a cost of Sh3,000. He said that is what they do,” Mwagae said.
Mwangi Njunge @Mwangi_Njunge said his sister lost Sh15,000 in a similar fraud.
The Communication Authority on Thursday cautioned Kenyans against revealing their Personal Identifiable Information including mobile money PIN, National ID and SIM card PIN.
The regulator said such details allow fraudsters to access people’s mobile accounts.
Via The Star



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Today in Kenya: Rising SIM swap fraud sends worries in mobile cash market
Rising SIM swap fraud sends worries in mobile cash market
Today in Kenya
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