M-PESA agents will soon start using photo identification as a strategy to fight M-PESA fraud.
Safaricom has been trying to weed out M-PESA fraud for quite some time but modern day fraudsters always manage to come up with new ways of conning people.
Well, it seems that the numbers of these fraudsters are numbered since Safaricom has come up a strategy to deal with their conniving ways.
This prevention measure has been dubbed ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) and it will require M- PESA agents to use two verification items; Customer ID number and the photo.
The photos will be used to identify those withdrawing or depositing money on the M-PESA platform.
The Business Daily reports that Safaricom has announced that it has already distributed over 25,000 pre-preprogrammed phones to be used in the registration of new SIM cards.
The agent will be required to take a picture of a new customer and this data will be automatically saved on Safaricom’s database.
If you are an existing customer, your photo will also be added to the database before the full roll out.
This comes days after the third M-PESA upgrade is ongoing.
While KYC is a great prevention measure, we must ask ourselves whether M-PESA agents have contributed to cases of fraud.
Some M-PESA agents do not countercheck the identity of the customer. Some only ask for the ID number while others just take the ID and copy the ID number. This may have contributed to the increasing M-PESA fraud causes.
M-PESA Fraud Tactics and Cases
Fraudsters have taken advantage of M-PESA loopholes to defraud customers of their money.
In March this year, seven suspected M-PESA fraudsters were arrested for posing as Safaricom customer care agents and asking for M-PESA details including their PIN numbers.
It is alleged that they would withdraw the money immediately it was sent. At the time of their arrest, it is believed that they had pocketed over Ksh. 800,000 in six months.
In 2011, a convicted criminal doing time at the Kamiti Maximum Prison conned M-PESA customers thousands of shillings after forging the ID belonging to a retired Chief of the KDF.
These fraudsters use different methods including stolen or forged IDs to register M-PESA accounts. These are then used to steal from unsuspecting customers.
Others have gone as far as trick customers that they have won some money. What follows is that the customer is given a set of instructions that automatically transfer funds to other accounts. In some cases, customers are swayed to send some money before they access their winnings.
And, how can we forget this message?
Pliz nitumie zile pesa kwa hii number 072xxxxxxxx usitume kwa ile yangu iko na shida upande wa mpesa. So nitumie kwa hii pliz.
Hilarious M-PESA Fraud Attempts that Failed
While some M-PESA fraudsters have succeeded in conning people, others have become a lighting stock.
Their target knew their intent right away and decided to take them on a humorous roller coaster.
Below is a hilarious conversation between a fraud and an M-PESA customer:
And then there was this: