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How fraudsters are still coning M-pesa users despite various attempts by Safaricom to stop them

Mpesa fraud conmen
Mpesa is Kenya's leading mobile transfer service,with the latest data from Communications Authority Of Kenya (April-June 2018) indicating that M-pesa subscribers are almost hitting the 24 million mark.
Mpesa has greatly revolutionized the way business transactions are carried out in Kenya including money transfers, mobile money banking services and purchase of goods and services as well as mobile money lending.
With such many benefits, the service also came up with a number of challenges, the major one being Conmen using this platform  to rob unsuspecting Customers off their add earned money.
In order to reduce cases of Mpesa fraud, Safaricom have over time introduced a number of measures to safeguard M-pesa transactions and make it remain one of the safest platform to carry mobile money transfers.
First Safaricom carried out a customer awareness campaign to inform M-pesa users that at no point should they disclose their Mpesa pin to anyone, including Safaricom Staff.
The campaign, known as 'Pin yako siri yako' had a positive impact, and the percentage of money lose through  fraudsters accessing personal Mpesa pin greatly reduced.
Initially when a customer sent money to a wrong number, they had to call the recipient and request them to kindly resend the money, and even keep part of the money, if they were kind enough to resend. Fraudsters used this to their advantage,by sending a message similar to an M-pesa transaction message, then call requesting the person to resend the money, only for one to realize that they had been coned.
To reduce instances of wrong money transactions, Safaricom introduced a dedicated call number 234, whereby one was required to call once they realized they had made a wrong money transfer and request for a money reversal.
From this it looks like Safaricom confirmed that most of the erroneous transactions were as a result of not Knowing the exact Name of the recipient, and therefore introduced Hakikisha, an M-pesa feature that allows M-pesa users confirm the name of the recipient and cancel the transact within a period of 25 seconds in case of an error.
This made M-pesa transactions more easier and even Safaricom users had a way of confirming the Sim owner of those annoying anonymous callers. If someone Keeps calling or sending texts and you don't know who, just take the number, send some money, and once you Hakikisha their name cancel the transaction by sending any number or letter before 25 seconds elapse.
However, if you cancel a transaction five times a day, you will be barred from using Hakikisha.
Although Hakikisha brought a lot of order in mobile money transfer and the telecommunications industry at large, it did not totally eradicate cases of fraud, and this forced Safaricom to further come up with another Mpesa feature that allows customers to reverse an Mpesa transaction by sending the Mpesa confirmation SMS of the wrong transaction to 456.
The Mpesa SMS reversal eradicated the need to call customer care every time you send money to a wrong number, but that did not eradicate cases of fraud or conmen using Mpesa.
In fact, in a recent article we published, we give you a clear warning that the Mpesa reversal has a high chance that it will not get your money back.
Like all along fraudsters have always capitalized on the ignorance of the public, and now they are targeting this feature, conning minimal amount from various people.
This is how they do it:
First they make you believe that they can sell you some services at a relatively cheap price, like KPLC tokens, data bundles or call claiming to be your child's teacher and that your child needs a book.
They can also promise to give a service like hookups or online dating.
Some even impersonate prominent people and open fake Facebook and email accounts on their names, then promise to send you some funds but first you need to pay some small registration money.
Since you know you can easily reverse the money in case the deal goes sore, and after all what they are asking is quite a small amount (usually less than Ksh.1000) you send the money.
In fact to ensure they build your trust further they even give you the name of the number you're to send the money to.
To also show that they are not in a hurry, they confirm to you that they have received the money, and they are working on the end of thwir bargain.
But that is the last time you will hear from them, the monet will have been transfered to another number and your number has been blocked so that ypu can no longer disturb them as they are busy looking for the next fictim.
When you send the confirmation text to 456, you will receive an SMS that M-pesa is not able to effect the reversal since the money has already been used.
If you take a step further and call Safaricom Customer care they will also infor you that since there are no funds in the recipient's account there is nothing they can do from their end, unless you call the person or report the matter to your nearest police station.
But considering that the amount is even maybe less that the transport to your nearest police station you decide to let go, and they move on to their next victim.
Note also that M-pesa reversal requests can only be effected within 24 hours from the period of the transaction.
To be continue..


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