Mobile money security tips: Here’s how to transact safely and guard yourself against fraud

The age of cashless transactions is upon us. Today you can buy goods and pay for services, transfer money without having to hold physical cash thanks to Mobile mobile. While this brings in the much needed convenience, it also introduces loopholes that cyber criminals can take advantage of to defraud the uninitiated users.

Lets take an example of how people are defrauded.

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Someone sends you money to your mobile phone with their bank identifier code and pass code for the transfer.  They call you and claim it was a mistake. They then request you to send them less amount than what they “mistakenly” sent you. Out of kindness and empathy, you unsuspectingly and quickly refund the person from your account without making any due diligence to verify if the claim is true or not. A number of people are reported to have been defrauded just like that.

Should you receive a call with such a claim, don’t be in a hurry to refund the alleged money.  Double check your account balance before you think about refunding the alleged money. If your account balance is more than the previous one and no one you know has sent you money, then the person has genuinely send money to the wrong number. However, if your account balance hasn’t changed, then this is someone trying to fraud you. Besides, if someone sends money to the wrong number, they should first contact customer care to reverse the transaction, not the recipient.

You can instruct the alleging person to call their provider’s customer care to block the transaction if they genuinely sent money to the wrong number.

Other common scenarios of mobile money  fraud

Below are the 3 other common scenarios of mobile money  fraud;

1. The most common is the one where defrauders call with a cunning message such as “you have won 5M in our promotion (purportedly an MTN promotion), please send us some airtime of worth XXX UGX to process your prize”.

2. The other is when an illiterate customer requests a “friend” to check for them their Mobile Money balance or withdraw MM simply because they can’t read. They of course request the victim for their MM PIN. Eventually the friend gets to sneak away with the phone and sends himself MM off that victim’s account.

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3. Another example specifically applies to Mobile money agents goes something like…“We are carrying out upgrades on the system and we require that you change PIN to safeguard your float. They guide the agent but in the confusion of reading out so many figures and codes, a telephone number is read out and then the agent is somehow duped into sending their float to whatever number the conman has read out…the trick is to read out a telephone number like they do a code i.e., they can read out figures, pause, in between and ask the agent whether they are following and then resume so that it does not sound like they are reading out a telephone number as you would normally do like 077…and then quickly finish.

Security tips to guard against Mobile Money fraud

Most security is around their Mobile Money pins, the telecoms encourage customers to;

  •  Avoid exposing your Mobile money pin like checking pin in public.
  • Avoid sharing Mobile money pin with relatives, spouses, friends or MM agents.
  • Always keep in mind how much Mobile money you have on your account.
  • To always keep you pins secret and to keep changing them.
  • Do  not use obvious pins like consecutive digits e.g 12345 or same digit pins or 22222

If you have been defrauded or you have any security tips for us, let us know in the comments below.


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