Safaricom terminated the employment of 33 Officers in the fiscal year ending in March 2023 due to offenses related to fraud, marking a significant increase of 37.5 percent compared to the 24 dismissals in the previous year.
Safaricom through its annual report acknowledges that fraud attempts primarily targeted SIM-swap services, but proactive monitoring and digital solutions helped mitigate the impact.
SIM swapping occurs when a criminal assumes a false identity, claims a lost card, and persuades a mobile operator to issue a replacement. This enables criminals to gain unauthorized access to a person’s contacts, banking information, emails, and social media accounts.
The telco has implemented a whistleblowing policy that allows for anonymous reporting of fraud, in addition to conducting regular customer awareness campaigns.
According to the report, Safaricom has established an ethics hotline managed by an independent and accredited external institution. This hotline enables individuals to make anonymous reports of unethical or fraudulent behavior without fear of reprisal.
Numerous complaints from consumers regarding theft of funds from their M-Pesa wallets, either through unauthorized transfers or unauthorized borrowing have been shared online by Kenyans
In March, Safaricom took further steps to combat fraud by introducing an “ATM Vicinity Check” technology, which ensures that cash withdrawals can only be made when the customer is physically present at the ATM.
This solution, provided free of charge to commercial banks by Safaricom, aims to address cases of banking fraud where criminals utilize victims’ cards and information to withdraw funds from their accounts via ATM
Elsewhere, the courts have decided that service providers are to blame for the widespread incidence of mobile SIM-swap fraud in Kenya, which has resulted in the victimization of many Kenyans.
The precedent was set when a court ordered Safaricom to safeguard customers against fraud caused by lost or stolen SIM cards.
On Tuesday, July 11, the High Court affirmed a ruling by Velnah Mochache, Adjudicator of the Milimani Small Claims Court, which found that Safaricom was accountable for money withdrawn from a customer’s M-Pesa account after his SIM card was stolen.