Earlier this month, MTN Ghana, in continuing with the fight against Mobile Money fraud, began enforcing a directive aimed at eliminating the menace from its mobile payment platform. As expected, the move has met with resistance from some customers who believe that carrying IDs on their person purposely for cash withdrawals is cumbersome.
And I understand them because not so long ago, I had to return home to fetch my ID after absentmindedly leaving without it. I get their frustration. But while they are dragging feet over their right to not be frustrated by their network service provider, the MoMo fraudsters are still at work — fine-tuning their next tactic.
In the midst of all this, one entity that seems to be benefiting from the tensions brought about by the “No ID No Cashout” directive is Vodafone Ghana. With many MTN MoMo customers disenchanted with the directive, it’s only logical for them to migrate to the Vodafone Cash platform; after all, there are no transaction charges to begin with.
But while this may look advantageous to Vodafone in the meantime, it will eventually backfire and become their headache as well — giving the Vodafone Cash platform a bad name.
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Vodafone, MTN in the fight against Mobile Money fraud
Mobile Money fraud has always been regarded as ‘an MTN thing.’ After all, users of the other mobile platforms do not experience the canker on the level that MTN MoMo customers do. And it makes sense, because, assuming that I were a fraudster, I’d target the network with the most users — just like a fisherman will cast his net where fish is abundant. And MTN MoMo just happens to be where the numbers are.
What this means is that if there should be a shift in numbers — benefiting a platform like Vodafone Cash — the fraudsters will take their business there as well. It is that simple. So this is not just an MTN thing. It is a mobile payments platform thing that desperately needs collaboration from industry stakeholders in order to defeat.
The bird, the vine, and the tortoise
You probably heard the story of the bird, the vine, and the tortoise while growing up. If you didn’t, give it a quick read here.
Our wise ancestors left us with a saying that goes “when your neighbor’s roof is on fire, help him put it out; lest the fire extends to your roof as well.” MTN Ghana has been making efforts to fight the fraud menace once it became apparent that those criminals were having a good run on the Y’ello network. While in most things we’re encouraged to mind our own business, the story of the bird, vine, and tortoise teaches us that minding your own business in certain situations can easily position you to be collateral damage in the fallout.
Which is why I find Vodafone Ghana’s ‘unlooking’ position in the fight against Mobile Money fraud very disturbing. If anything at all, it hints at the unwillingness of our telecom service providers to work as a collective in protecting consumers against a common threat — so long as the chaos favors any one of them. And chaos is a ladder for some, as we all should know by now.
As it stands now, Vodafone is acting like a bank whose doors are open to money launderers — because it is profitable — rather than tightening its regulations in order to prevent being used as a safe haven by criminals.
The way forward…
This issue, as noted earlier, is not just an MTN thing. Therefore, the fight against Mobile Money fraud should be a collaboration between stakeholders in the telecom mobile wallet business.
Not only do patrons of the telco-run mobile wallets want their preferred platform to be well-secured. We expect the industry to be secure enough so we can have options at any point in time.
The fraudsters do not mind who they give a bad reputation, so, it is in the best interest of Vodafone Ghana and AirtelTigo to join forces with MTN Ghana in the fight against Mobile Money fraud.
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This article calling for Vodafone Ghana’s involvement in the fight against Mobile Money fraud is part of a series JBKlutse.com is developing to educate the public about MTN’s ID directive for MoMo withdrawals.
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