One of the most popular ways Kenyans get their hard-earned cash stolen from them is via elaborate Sim Swap fraud. This is when fraudsters replace and take over the customer line, withdraw money from their mobile money wallets, take out loans and overdrafts and even ask for money from close friends and family.
The biggest mobile money wallet in Kenya has seen better days, M-Pesa is one of the most targeted wallets due to its sheer dominance in the space, Equity’s Equitel became a damned case due to the same.
In order to steal from you, fraudsters go to the extent of registering an existing number on a new SIM card in order to intercept notifications, one-time passwords, online banking profiles, and transactions as well as change the account security settings, however, they always need the owner of the SIM Card to authorize the swap.
To do this, they call and manipulate users into giving out their details and unknowingly consent, now having all necessary information, the attacker is able to convince the mobile network operator to transfer the subscriber’s mobile number to a new SIM card under their control, here is how to avoid falling victim to the con;
3 Things to Do to Avoid Falling Victim Of Sim Swap Fraud
- Never accept help you didn’t ask for – When a foreign number calls you, doesn’t matter which number or what they know about you, do not accept any help you didn’t request for. Say someone calls you and they tell you your money is not safe and even call you by your names, unless you had raised this issue yourself, just hang up. the fact that they are calling you means they need something from you. Do not follow any of their instructions.
- Never give out any of your personal details – No real customer care representative will ever need any of your personal details like PIN numbers to help you with anything, nowadays when you ask for help from official customer care on social media, fake accounts follow and ask for your details, they then call you and initiate the elaborate con. Never give out any of your information to anyone and always verify who replies to your queries on social media, all customer care accounts have a verified symbol with millions of followers, you can’t miss them.
Don’t use easy-to-guess passwords like birthdays, or ID numbers as your PIN. Fraudsters can easily access this information, furthermore, even if you never give out your PIN, but give out your year of birth, which is the same thing, you will be robbed.
To learn some other ways to avoid fraud, dial USSD: *100*6*7# on your Safaricom line.
- Take Precautions offered by the Service Providers – Telco providers like Safaricom have now put in place precautionary services where you can take a few measures to ensure that a your line/SIM card isn’t easily swapped
To make sure your M-Pesa line can only be replaced by visiting a Safaricom Shop or Care desk with your ID, you can dial *100*100# from a Safaricom number and whitelist the line from being replaced with another person.
“When you receive the below notification of an attempted SIM swap on your line that you did not initiate. ‘Dear customer, we have received your SIM SWAP request. If you are not aware of this, kindly dial *100*100# immediately to stop the swap. Thank you.’,” Safaricom warned the customers to be wary.