Consumer Education: How To Avoid Being Conned By Fraudsters Both Online And On Mobile


Technology has made most if not all aspects of our lives easier. Sadly people are always looking to exploit these technological advancements for personal gain at the expense of someone else. Fraudsters aka conmen have become a menace we cannot shake. They always come up with ways to con people out of their hard earned money. Some may get caught but some run free and continue running their schemes. So the best way you can protect yourself from is to educate yourself. Ensure that you know the best way to keep your funds away from their reach. Here are some tips that can help you out.


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Set Secure PINS

All online money transaction platforms provide you with the option of setting a PIN to protect your finances. Always set a PIN that is secure that people cannot figure out easily. Additionally and most importantly, do not share that PIN with anyone, even customer care agents of your service giver. Safaricom M-PESA’s number one rule is ‘PIN YAKO, SIRI YAKO.’ Fraudsters trick people into giving up their MPESA pins by parading as customer care agents who ask you for your PIN then initiate a SIM swap. Here are tips from the Daily Nation on How to protect yourself from SIM card scammers

Using Voice Biometrics

Use of voice biometrics involves using voice authentication to confirm a person’s identity. It is like using fingerprints but now using your voice. If your bank or service provider offers the option of voice identification, ensure that you do set it up. This makes it harder for tricksters to access any of your online accounts.

Safaricom recently introduced the ‘Jitambulishe’ service that allows customers to access services using their voice. This includes services such as PIN and PUK resets. Once your voice is pre-recorded at a Safaricom Customer Care Shop, you can then change your PIN wherever you are using your voice. The voice recordings are not stored which minimizes the chance of fraud. The service will also reduce how many questions one has to answer in order to reset your PIN or PUK codes.

How to set up your Jitambulishe

You will call 100 (prepaid) or 200 (postpaid subscriber). Select your preferred language – English or Kiswahili. Press 4 to go to the Jitambulishe menu. Press 1 to enroll your voice on Jitambulishe – this will prompt you to key in your ID number. Enter your ID card number followed by #. Repeat the pass phrase after the tone – then follow the prompts. You might be asked to do this a couple of times. When this is done, you’ll be notified that your voice has been successfully enrolled for use as your vocal pass code. A request will be sent to your device via the SIM toolkit asking you to key in your M-Pesa password in order to complete the Jitambulishe enrollment.


Consider your payment methods

Use of online platforms to pay bills is very popular these days. This way you do not have to carry with large amounts of money at a go. However, you need to be careful when sending or paying using these online platforms. Never give any sites access to your credit or debit card details if you are unsure of the site’s legitimacy.

When it comes to using services like M-PESA, you may receive texts asking you to send money that has presumably been sent to you by mistake. Never send back the money before you check your balance. Additionally, if you are still skeptical about the call, you can always wait for the money to be automatically sent back to the owner by the system.

When sending money to another number, ensure that you triple check the number you are sending the money to. You are also given 25 seconds to cancel your transaction in case you realize you have sent it to the wrong person.  In the case of withdrawing money using ATM’s through M-PESA, ensure that you the PIN sent to you is for your eyes only, especially in a crowded space. For your safety, the PIN is only valid for 10 minutes.

Do not pay money upfront

Fraudsters often approach customers with so called offers on products provided by service providers. The thing is, some of these fraudsters have inside information. They may already have some personal information about you that may trick you into thinking that they are who they say they are. They may offer to give you relief for a loan you recently took if you pay for it earlier. Some even claim that you have won a certain amount of money. They then go ahead to bait you by asking you to send money so they can process your winnings. Remember, when the deal is too good, think twice.

Know your service providers

Once you register onto an online money service platform, ensure that you know all the important details about it. Including details such as how to confirm payments, report fraudsters, access financial statements and how to block an account. All these information works as a tool to ensure that you protect yourself in case of anything. Additionally, know the numbers these service people can contact you on so that if anyone calls with another number impersonating them, you will not even bother to listen to them.  Safaricom calls are explicitly made from 0722002100 for Prepay and 0722002200 for Post-pay.

Speaking of Safaricom, here is a review of the MySafaricom App’s Best Features

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