Safaricom Establishes Fraud Management Squad to Police Illegal SIM Registration

From left, CS Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty Maina, with Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom PLC, Peter Ndegwa and UN Resident Coordinator, Stephen Jackson during the launch of the 10th Sustainable Report at MJC.

Safaricom has released its 10th Sustainable Business Report in an event that was held online. It was attended by the carrier’s top leadership, including CEO Peter Ndegwa and Chairman of the Board, Michael Joseph.

The report, on the whole, covers every aspect of the company, including social, economic, and environmental performance.

Part of the assessment entails how the company has been handling internal ethical culture, and how it has extended the same to combat fraud cases, including the recent case of illegal registration of SIM cards.

According to the report, Safaricom’s internal ethical issues rose by a single point in FY2021 compared to FY2020.

FY2020 FY2021
Asset misappropriation 9 2
Policy breach 3 8
Conflict of interest 9 0
Data privacy 3 22
Neglect of duty 5 0
SIM Swap 6 4
Grand total 35 36

Safaricom also acknowledges that irregular SIM card registration is a big concern following mass reports that subscriber credentials have been used to illegally register SIM cards without the knowledge of the original owners.

To this end, Safaricom says that it has since established a fraud management squad that specializes in analytics, customer awareness, and process reviews to push for customer safety based on ‘accelerated use of machine learning and automation, continuous customer fraud awareness, and process reviews.’

Furthermore, Safaricom says it is focusing on three key areas:

  • Targeting irregular subscriber registrations
  • Focused awareness to customers
  • A review of processes followed by SIM selling outlets

Identity theft and social engineering fraud have been some of the most common forms of fraud targeted at our M-PESA customers. In FY21, we continued with our customer fraud awareness drive. We highlighted the issues through an above-the-line campaign under the tag Jichanue and Take Control, using radio, TV, and digital channels. With the aim to reach all customers, we sent out over 63 million SMS broadcasts. Additionally, our digital channels reached 9.5 million people and our radio campaign reached over 8 million people – Reads part of the report.

For those who may not be aware, there is a way you can use to see if your credentials have been used to register another SIM card.

Just dial *106#, and follow the prompts. If you notice an issue, the code also allows you to report it. Safaricom will then investigate the report, and deactivate the number once it has established an irregularity.

We are not sure how long the process takes, and the operator does not say what happens if the irregularly registered number has been used to conduct fraud.

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