Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has warned the public on the increasing cases of scammers that continue to hit the mobile money business.
Mr Ibrahim Bbosa, UCC’s consumer affairs manager in a statement cautioned the public to stay alert as scammers change tricks to defraud the unsuspecting public.
According to Bbosa, the most common trick that had for long been successfully used by mobile money scammers was to send their target a message indicating their mobile money account had been topped up.
The scammers will then immediately call the receiver, requesting them to send back the money, saying it was mistakenly wired.
To rush and confuse the target, they sometimes appeal to their emotions telling them they have a patient in the hospital or that they are stuck, so the receiver will not take time to check their balance.
But with time, people became aware of this, and the number of such instances dramatically reduced.
With the addition of features in the mobile money interface that reveal details of the person receiving the money, using such a ruse would most likely arouse suspicion.
These new fraudsters, however, instead of a text message, send money to your mobile money account, then call to ask that you send back the money, with the reason that it was mistakenly sent. On sending the money, all the balance on the sender’s account will be wiped clean.
How this is technically possible is still a mystery.
The message which was shared by Bbosa indicates that the scam has been happening in Ghana since the currency used in the message is Ghanaian. In most mobile money fraud cases, reports have indicated that workers of telecom companies have been involved in the schemes.
Workers that have access to the databases of customers have the capacity to change one’s mobile money account details to another number and then render the customer’s number invalid without his/her permission.
This year alone at least four members of parliament, including two ministers in Uganda, had their SIM cards cloned, and the crooks that swapped them used them to scam people.
Two MTN employees were subsequently arrested in connection to the above. What these scammers normally need to hack into your SIM card are your names, date of birth and your ID.
Mobile money agents have also been involved in these schemes since they always take your details (phone number, amount sent) during the transaction process.
When talking to you, they will easily convince you since they are aware of the transactions you just made. In some countries, registration of mobile money transaction details has been banned.
If it lands in the wrong hands, this information can be used to access your banking details and mobile money account.