Safaricom moves to arrest SIM fraud

Safaricom has moved to nip phone number fraud by empowering a customer to know when someone is registering a new line using your ID number, ensuring that customers who have not consented to the move are protected.

Kenyans have been defrauded through this service especially with lost Identity Cards and collated information from registration desks and services like M-Pesa agents where a persons’ details are recorded.

Through the service dubbed ‘Tuwaanike’, customers will receive a message to their most active number alerting them of the new registration and prompting them to decline or accept it. There is no limit to the number of lines a customer can have, hence the reference to the most active line a customer uses.

The alert being on SMS means that people without smartphones are also catered for.

No new registration or opt-in service is required.

Fraud schemes

Fraudsters and criminals have a variety of ways to cause pain and anguish to customers by registering a line delinked to them to not only be successful but also be unknown.

The practice referred to us identity theft means they can impersonate you to your family, friends or business partners to demand money or defame your character.

They can also use your identity to defraud people via M-Pesa, Mobile banking, fraudulent calls/SMS or conduct criminal activity like money laundering, extortion, demand ransom, harassment, send threats, engage in terrorism.

The registered line means they can receive or transfer funds/ proceeds from fraudulent or criminal activity and put in you in legal problems due to their criminal activity since the line carries your identity including kidnappings, car jackings and murder done using that line will be associated with you.

They can also take fraudulent loans, Fuliza, Okoa Jahazi under your details that may result in you being listed on CRB and thus denied loans by financial institutions due to default – this will still negatively affect your credit score even if the loans are eventually paid off being denied certain Safaricom products like Fuliza, Okoa, Post pay etc. in future due to the bad credit score that will be used to determine your risk level.

In addition, they can claim archived funds or next of kin funds e.g. family.

Moving forward

While it is still yet possible to backdate the requests or check history, this service is already bearing fruits as seen by fewer cases being reported and positive response from Kenyans online.

On request, it is possible to get a notification of how many times your ID has been used already.

A suggestion made to deepen the service by an online user is getting an update that shows all the numbers already registered to facilitate their removal. However, by dialing 100, one can know how many numbers their ID has been registered with.

The move extends Safaricom’s mantra of as an honest, transparent and reliable brand that anticipates consumer’s needs and purposefully provides them with products, services and care that helps them achieve the goals. This was launched by former CEO Michael Joseph as he sought to take the company ‘back to the beginning’ where he led brand.

Customers can report fraudulent numbers by sending SMS to 333 to enable the company take appropriate actions.

A customer receives a notification from 707 informing them of the move to register a new line using their ID number upon which they chose either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Once you reply with a ‘No’ the new registration will fail.

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