To curb the menace of sim card fraud amongst Kenyans, Kenya’s biggest mobile service provider – Safaricom has unveiled a new security feature with a caption “tuwaanike” – meaning “expose them” that’s expected to thwart conmen from fraudulently registering a new mobile number with someone else ID number. The new feature will alert subscribers with an existing mobile number on the Safaricom network whenever a new phone number is being registered under their details to accept or deny.
Cases of SIM card fraud in the country have risen tremendously with conmen using Identification details acquired from MPESA to register new mobile numbers that often end up being used in criminal activities. The new measure is therefore expected to come as a relief to many Kenyans who have fallen victim to these types of activities.
Recently, Kenya’s head of investigating criminal activities otherwise known by the acronym “DCI” warned that online crime had skyrocketed where fraudsters go to the extend of selling non existent items, circulating phishing emails and cash in using mobile money services registered with unsuspecting individual’s details.
With a mobile number, someone can easily do a lot of cash related transactions including applying for mobile loans, receiving cash, paying for services and products. In fact, it has become very common to find an MPESA agent colluding with these criminals to share personal details of customers who end up to discover late when a crime has already been committed.
How the new number registration security feature works.
The new security feature is only active to subscribers who are already Safaricom customers. To be effective, Safaricom must already have your details, and this is only possible if you’re already a customer. A text message is automatically sent to your active mobile phone number to either accept by responding with “YES” or deny by responding “NO”. Depending on your response, the new number is ether registered with your ID number or not registered.
Upon a new request to register a SIM card with your ID number, you’ll receive a text message from “707”, reading: Dear customer, a new number is about to be registered under your ID number. Please reply with YES to continue or NO to cancel the registration.
This means, a new SIM is only registered with your approval. Criminals have been registering new SIM cards with someone else details only to end up abandoning the phone number once accomplishing their mission.