The mystery surrounding the MTN Mobile Money fraud menace continues to generate debate and speculation among users of the service. One thing that many wonder about is what MTN Ghana, as a corporation, is doing to clear its name and salvage some reputation in the eyes of a public that desperately wants to believe it has a hand in the situation, because, why else would fraudsters be running amok on your network with no fear of serious repercussions?
MTN, like many others in a similar situation, would do, issued a basic ‘first aid’ or common sense sort of solution to subscribers — keep your MoMo PIN to yourself. But is it enough to simply keep your MTN Mobile Money PIN safe by not disclosing it to others? This is the question I’ll attempt to provide an answer or two for — in this article. Come with me; there’s something to learn.
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Keeping MoMo PIN safe doesn’t stop Mobile Money fraud
Before you read any further, here’s a question to keep in your mind. Aside yourself, who else knows your Mobile Money PIN? And how often do they have access to your phone? We’ll come back to that in a bit.
Mobile Money fraud thrives on the innocence and ignorance of the unsuspecting victim. You have to admit, when you analyse the story of some of the victims, you’ll arrive at the conclusion that there’s some degree of sophistication to these perpetrators.
It went from the amateurish “I mistakenly transferred some money to your account”, to them calling you and marketing some ideas which end up with you entering a sizeable amount and authorizing the transaction before you realize what was happening all along. Take a look at the video below. Pay attention to the interaction.
In the above interaction, we observed a failed attempt to defraud the gentleman in the video. The fraudster behind this call knew the steps to employ in order to make his intended victim have some confidence in him — as an official from MTN Ghana would have done.
What made him fail was that the gentleman he picked to be his victim was not just some naive illiterate dude with a phone and a MoMo account. However, not every subscriber can be alert right from the start; and that is where they have their hope.
Now, let’s go back to the question I asked earlier. Assuming I knew your MoMo PIN, and you are the kind of person whose phone is never let out of sight, what are the chances that I can authorize transactions from your account? None. I know it, but I can’t use it. Which is why the “keep your MoMo PIN to yourself” piece of advice shouldn’t be regarded as enough to curb this Mobile Money fraud canker.
A way forward?
MTN Ghana being a corporate giant, invests a lot in marketing its services to consumers. For that reason, its underwhelming response so far — toward this issue — is quite surprising.
With all that’s been going on, one would expect MTN to be running awareness campaigns on all available platforms; to sensitize the general population concerning this issue. Mind you, the only people who have come forward with complaints so far, are the people you can describe as being aware of what Mobile Money fraud is. But, what of the elderly lady in a village somewhere who keeps losing the remittances her city children send her to some sham insurance company?
There is so much being perpetuated against unsuspecting and vulnerable people who until they have been sensitized, cannot really tell when a quick one is being played on them in the name of MTN.
Unless my phone is with a third party, or they have a way of cloning a victim’s SIM card to be able to make withdrawals on their own, someone else knowing my PIN does not mean a thing. There’s basically nothing they can do when my phone can only be unlocked with my fingerprint. They won’t need it. Rather, what they need to do is appear as genuine as they can. That for many, is enough to fool them to comply with whatever steps the Mobile Money fraud perpetrators need them to undertake.
I’d like to believe that MTN Ghana’s silence on this situation is the calm before the storm; and that something effective is being planned. And until that happens, MTN must sit up, too many naive and easily trusting people are losing their monies to criminals who are taking advantage of the telco’s silence on the issue to do as much damage as they can before time runs out for the business in general.
For too many of such people operating in gangs (yes, it’s never a one-man operation), MoMo fraud is a business model that must be exploited to the fullest. Your move, MTN. Our eyes are watching.