How Fraudsters are Scamming Kenyans Using Mobile Phones

A new survey by telecommunications firm Myriad Connect has revealed that seven out of ten Kenyans reported to have fallen victim - or know someone who has fallen victim - to financial fraud.

Most of the schemes used to fleece Kenyans were undertaken through mobile phones, with sim card fraud among the most common.

Identity theft has been on the rise with scammers illegally obtaining personal data from users and presenting themselves to telcos seeking to replace supposedly lost or damaged sim cards.

The criminals proceed to access funds and other sensitive data through mobile banking apps and the sim toolkit feature.

Over 90 percent of lenders cited sim swap fraud as one of the more prevalent security threats to their clients.

[caption caption="Mobile phone users in Nairobi"][/caption]

“When a customer lets their operator know that their SIM card is damaged, lost or stolen, the current SIM is deactivated and a new one is issued. With SIM swap fraud criminal groups gather personal data and then pose as contract owners to secure a new SIM.

"Once activated by the fraudster, they are able to get access to bank accounts and other sensitive data authenticated through the SIM,” a statement from the company read in part.

The Paris-based firm also announced plans to launch out of band authentication and SIM swap detection service to combat cases of fraud in mobile services.

They noted that the service would be deployed to financial service institutions and telecom companies that operate mobile money services.

“While financial service transaction fraud is a global issue; Kenya has been a leader in the adoption of mobile and digital payments, which unfortunately brings with it a growing risk of fraud,” asserted Myriad Connect GM Fabien Delanaud.

[caption caption="A mobile phone user in Kisumu"][/caption]

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