Safaricom to Use Thumbprint Identification to Prevent SIM Swap Fraud

  • Safaricom PLC has conveyed plans to require its customers to provide a thumbprint before they are allowed to replace their SIM cards.

    Speaking after he returned from medical leave, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore emphasised that the network had introduced the new requirement to curb SIM card fraud that has become prevalent.

    The CEO explained that the measures currently in place were thorough, however, the thumbprint requirement would serve to discourage fraudsters as well as employees who facilitate fraud from within the network.

    "We vet people quite carefully. It is only that some come in clean then become corrupted.

    [caption caption="Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore during a past interview in 2017. He recently returned to Kenya after a nine-month medical leave."][/caption]

    "We are looking at introducing biometrics for SIM swaps. Meanwhile, if you want to do SIM swaps and the line is active, we will send a message with a request and you will have to confirm the request for the swap," he stated.

    Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom, Stephen Chege, told the press that the elongated registration process for a SIM replacement would curb the new SIM swap scam.

    "If we bring in biometrics and someone tries social engineering, at some point they will be required to put in details like a thumbprint to prove if that is a genuine customer authorizing SIM swap," he added.

    The director confirmed that the company was in the final stages of developing the framework to be used for the new requirement.

    The leading Kenyan telco introduced voice identification for its customers close to a year ago and has implemented the same to lower the chances of thieves using basic information to register SIM cards used to scam unsuspecting members of the public.

    The voice recognition allowance also allows customers to access other services from the network provider.

    [caption caption="Safaricom tent put up at the Galleria Mall during a past open day"][/caption]