Over the last couple of weeks, there have been overwhelming reports of Kenyans getting their SIM cards illegally swapped, leading to the loss of data and money from their mobile wallets.
Local telcos have not yet revealed official data of how many subscribers might have fallen victim to this security breach, but, going by general reports, these cases could be in thousands.
Safaricom has now come up with a self-service feature to enable its customers to protect themselves from unauthorized SIM swaps. By simply dialling *100*100# on their phones, customers whitelist their SIM cards, ensuring that they can only replace them from a Safaricom shop and not an agent.
“This is a service that ensures that a customer’s line/SIM card can only be replaced by visiting a Safaricom Shop or Care desk with your ID, or by calling Safaricom customer care,” Safaricom says on its website.
One of the common techniques employed by fraudsters is impersonating personnel from the mobile service provider and obtaining personal details from unsuspecting users. They will call and pretend to shield you from a forthcoming danger, before requesting personal details which will, ostensibly, allow them to serve you. Those who unfortunately fall into this trap end up losing money, bank details and other important personal information.
The new feature deployed by Safaricom will go a long way in helping to protect Kenyans from the rising fraud cases executed through SIM swap. Such cases have been reported to wipe large savings from users’ bank accounts and mobile wallets.