Kenya has been ranked among the top three African countries hit by mobile fraud. According to Evina, a Paris-based cybersecurity company, this type of fraud is most prevalent in Kenya, South Africa, and Cameroon.
In Kenya, Evina estimates that 51 percent of mobile-based billing transactions are suspicious. In South Africa and Cameroon, the percentage is slightly lower – at 30 and 10 percent, respectively.
Evina estimates that mobile fraud costs Africa around US$ 4-billion every year.
“Fraud is a feasible obstacle to overcome, and there really is no excuse for the fact that one in three mobile subscriptions attempts in South Africa, for example, is fraudulent,” says David Lotfi, CEO of Evina.
The youthful population is mostly unbanked and leverages mobile money with over 900 million mobile money accounts available, making it a sweet spot for malicious actors to take advantage of.
According to Evina, criminals utilize the Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) feature on mobile money to carry out fraud in two different ways. First, by using malicious apps with malware embedded inside and through clickjacking. Both of these methods have the same intent – stealing personal and financial data.
With clickjacking, a fraudster hijacks a legitimate click and unknowingly redirects the user to malicious websites with the intent of stealing their personal and financial data.
Clickjacking is very basic, and Evina says, has been eliminated in many parts of the mobile world.
“…fraudsters who continue – in 2020 – to steal Africa’s wealth can be beaten with the right tools that we already use to protect millions of mobile transactions every day,” Lofti added.
Mobile Money Fraud in Kenya
Mobile money fraud is most prevalent in Kenya, given the high mobile penetration in the country, and has raised eyebrows with the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji. And it’s not just consumers, companies are losing as well. Last year, Airtel Kenya revealed it lost $6.7 million in employee mobile money fraud in 2018.