Mobile money has contributed significantly towards financial inclusion not only in Ghana and Africa but in the world as a whole. Mobile money accounts or wallets continue to outstrip traditional bank accounts in all the countries the service has been deployed.
However, the once celebrated service that served the unbanked and facilitated payments for small and medium scaled enterprises is gradually becoming home to criminals.
MMPGhana.com has put together six of the commonly used strategies by scammers to defraud unsuspecting mobile money customers.
Ponzi Schemes: Fraudsters set up websites with various investment packages and request customers to choose any of the investment products and pay via Mobile Money. The customers end up losing their investments. A classic example is Savannah Brokerage an online investment company that defrauded Ghanaians to the tune of millions of Ghana cedis.
Peer-2-Peer Transfers: An online scheme which allows customers to register for a Peer 2 Peer service and make payments via mobile money. The customers get linked up with other users and are made to transfer funds to each other periodically. Customers are defrauded when it is time for them to receive their transfers from other users or peers.
Auction Sales: Fraudsters have cloned institutional websites like Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and added a tab for “Auction” where they lure customers to bid for used cars at cheaper prices and request for them to make payments via mobile money.
Mobile Money Reversals: Mobile money subscribers easily fall to this type of scam. Fraudsters call victims requesting them to refund an amount of money which the fraudster has wrongly sent to the wallet of the victim. More so, the fraudsters sometimes call their victims that a cash deposit has turned into airtime. In the process of helping convert the airtime into cash the victims get defrauded. This kind of fraud mmpGhana.com believes is being perpetuated by some unscrupulous the mobile money agents.
Impersonating Employees of Mobile Money Operators: Fraudsters call agents, subscribers and partners and introduce themselves (mentions a well-known name/person) as a staff of the mobile money operator. They request politely to train or request for some actions to be taken by the agent/ partner over the phone. The agent or partner eventually ends up sending money to the fraudster.
Fake Promo Information: This type pf mobile money fraud occurs where victims are told they have won a promo or an award for using the services of a particular telco. Customers are asked to follow a process to redeem their prize.
Despite the increased cases of mobile money fraud, it is important for subscribers, agents, partners and all stakeholders to know that mobile money platforms are very secure because the frauds do not actually happen at the operator level, because security is generally strong there.