Thursday, December 7, 2023

How to spot and avoid mobile money fraudsters


Over a period, fraudsters and scammers have often used sophisticated means and tactics to exploit unsuspecting victims to get them to part with their hard-earned investments.

These schemes, one of which is mobile money related, have taken different shades and caught the attention of the central bank; the Bank of Ghana, which has issued a warning to all financial institutions and mobile phone subscribers to be mindful of a new kind of mobile money fraud.

According to the Bank of Ghana, these fraudsters call staff of banks, tellers and mobile phone users, claiming to be from the ‘Head Office’ of one of the telecommunication companies that offers mobile money services.

Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Ernest Addision recently revealed that some internal banking staff collaborate with these mobile money fraudsters to scam victims.

Mobile money transactions on one hand, have been a rather safe and secure way for one to digitally make cash transactions and safeguard cash investments.

But as time goes on, so does the greedy and irresistible love for money from fraudsters also grow.

GhanaWeb takes a look at some measures one can take in order to spot and avoid mobile money fraud.

Receiving phone calls for customer related matters

The first point of call to avert a typical mobile money scam is phone calls from persons claiming to be reaching out from the Head Office of a Telco company.

One must first be wary of the official number of the caller.

Most telcos in the country often have unique call numbers such as; 0244300000 for MTN Ghana, 111 for Vodafone Ghana etc. for matters relating to customer queries, promotions and rewards, satisfaction surveys.

It’s important to note that most fraudsters do not have access to these unique numbers.

Fraudsters do not call on fixed phone lines

One must also take note and caution that mobile service providers have no business using a 3rd-party fixed line to reach its customers under any circumstance. They must be wary of falling for such activities and scams.

Mobile Money SMS’ often appear with a sender ID

Another key point to note is SMS on your phone. SMS’ or texts that come without the official Sender ID of your mobile service subscriber indicate as; Mobile Money, please do well to ignore if its not from your official service provider’s ID.

Most of these scam text messages sent out by fraudsters will appear as a normal phone number and not that of an official number from the telcos. An example is 0541933207.

After the text is sent which is mostly filled with grammatical errors, these fraudsters often call to inform you to tell you they ‘have mistakenly’ sent you money thus you need you check your phone.

This should raise an alarm to anyone and everyone and must be ignored because no telco will call their subscribers to inform about a cash transaction or transfer.

Most fraudsters speak in vernacular or a local dialect

A very peculiar pattern of these fraudsters and a point of call for them is to commence their conversation with vernacular language or a local dialect.

Though there are some well-educated and smart fraudsters, most of these scams are often perpetuated by some uneducated individuals calling from a distant location to use sympathy to exploit their victims.

In conclusion, one must be wary of these mobile money fraudsters as they are on the rise on a daily. Everyone mobile phone user must also not hesitate to report any attempt or crime to the relevant authorities for action to be taken.

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