Mobile Money is a cash management solution which offers flexibility, total security and convenience of accessing money on a mobile phone anywhere and everywhere and is no doubt providing security and comfort to users.
But the caution is that, users must be wary of fraudsters who may not only be seeking to empty their mobile money wallets but may also target bank accounts linked to mobile money accounts.
As MTN Mobile Money executive, Godwin Tamakloe explains in a zoom discussion with members of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), it may be a simple mobile phone call telling you about settings from the MTN office. As the caller leads you through some steps, you may end up setting yourself up for fraud when they succeed in getting you to generate an ATM token for them.
While mobile money technology has revolutionized monetary transactions and savings in many African countries including Ghana, wily fraudsters continue to devise strategies to fleece unsuspecting users.
The impact of the MTN Mobile Money Service in Ghana for instance has been phenomenal. Over an 11-year period, a total of GH¢3.8 billion has been saved in, and transferred through the system and according to Godwin, such benefits dwarf the negatives.
Yet, the fraudsters must be stopped, he maintains, and MTN has been working assiduously with the Ghana Police Service to achieve that.
This year there has been a sharp decrease in the number of phone lines blocked as a result of mobile money fraud and an increase in the number of failed attempts reported.
Industry experts explain that this is evidence that many more users are getting to understand better, the strategies used by these fraudsters. That notwithstanding, the importance of caution continues to be emphasized as the fraudsters continue to change their strategies.
Clearly, many strategies now abound for these scammers. As the technology gets more sophisticated, the scammers get more innovative and seek to exploit the service as technology offers them diversity. Thus, there has been the resort by some fraudsters to strategies such as pop up messages that trick customers into entering their PIN thereby divulging it to the scammers, fake kidnapping claims, romance scam, extortion, blackmail and emotional scam.
But MTN remains unperturbed, Mr Tamakloe assures. Indeed, the company continues to engage the police to fight these fraudsters.
This year, a total of 13 mobile money fraudsters have so far been arrested and there appears to be no let-up in the quest to nab more of them.
MTN has requested that such fraudsters should be published in the media to serve as a deterrent to others. “Our management has written to the head of the police in that direction; we are still appealing to the police,” Mr Tamakloe reveals.