SCAMMERS

How to shield yourself from SIM-swap fraudsters

Cases of sim-swap fraud have been on the rise in the past few weeks.

In Summary
  • The scammers register an existing number, in order to intercept notifications and one-time passwords(OTP)
  • The self-whitelist will enable a user to lock their sim cards from attacks, only accessible to them. 
A mobile phone subscriber inserts a Sim card in a phone.
A mobile phone subscriber inserts a Sim card in a phone.
Image: FILE

Safaricom has come up with a new feature that will help to curb the cases of SIM -swap fraud.

The telco introduced a SIM -swap self whitelist that allows their customers to only replace their SIM cards by visiting their shops and not their agents. 

"This is a service that ensures that a customer’s line/SIM card can only be replaced by visiting a Safaricom Shop or Care desk with your ID, or by calling Safaricom customer care," Safaricom said.

The users will be required to dial *100*100# to whitelist their phone numbers. 

Other ways of protecting yourself from fraudulent practices are,  to activate the Two-factor authentication on all the available mobile money apps and mobile banking. 

Cases of sim-swap fraud have been on the rise in the past few weeks.

The fraudsters have mastered this new way of acquiring money from people after taking control of their sim cards. 

The scammers register an existing number to intercept notifications and one-time passwords(OTP).

They also register an existing number to access online banking profiles and transactions of their victim's phones, which enables them to change the account security settings.

The latest case involved a police boss, Peter Mwanza, who is in charge of the Kasarani police division. 

The process, which took about six hours, made him lose Sh600,000. 

Peter said that it all started with numerous strange phone calls, he then put his phone on flight mode, but when he switched it on about five minutes later, it failed to pick network. 

"I went to Safaricom shop the next morning. I was told my sim card had failed. I renewed it, and that's when I started receiving messages of M-Pesa transactions."

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