Francis Wangusi sounds the alarm on Sim swap fraud

The Communication Authority has warned mobile phone users against disclosing sensitive personal identification information to third parties, amid widespread reports of simcard swap fraud.

In the Sim card swap fraud, the fraudster usually makes a call pretending to be an employee of a mobile network operator.

When a mobile user picks the call, the fraudster then asks the unsuspecting mobile subscriber to share their information such as their national ID number, mobile money PIN, or SIM card PIN, among others.

After obtaining the information, the fraudster then goes ahead to swap the SIM card— thereby gaining access to all the SIM services, including mobile money transfer, mobile and internet banking, voice calls, SMS, data services and any other service that can be accessed through the SIM.

This fraud, thought to be aided by unscrupulous employees of mobile operators, and sometimes, the police, has led to millions of Kenyans losing their hard-earned money in mobile money accounts, and in banks, through the mobile banking platforms.

“Never divulge any of your PINs to anyone, not even the mobile money service provider or agent,” Francis Wangusi, the communication authority director-general, said in a statement.

“Fraudsters want you to act first and think later. If the request conveys a sense of urgency, or uses high-pressure tactics be skeptical; never let their urgency influence your careful review,” he added.

Mr Wangusi also asked Kenyans to be suspicious of unsolicited messages or requests of any kind.

“If the request looks like it is from a company you use, do your own research. Use a search engine to go to the real company’s site, or a phone directory to find their official contacts,” Mr Wangusi said.

The authority further asked Kenyans to reject requests for help or offers for help.

“If you did not specifically request assistance from the sender, consider any offer to ’help’ a scam,” he said.

 

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