MTN Mobile Money Fraud on the Rise in Ghana as Usage Increases Following BoG’s Transaction Fee Waiver
The number of people getting defrauded by fake mobile money (MoMo) agents is on the rise in Ghana as more monetary transactions are being carried out using MTN Mobile Money because of the fee waiver for transactions up to Ghs100 daily.
The waiver is a result of a partnership between MTN Mobile Money Limited and the Central Bank of Ghana. It will be in place until September 30 and is aimed at making monetary transactions cheaper in order to reduce the harsh impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the General Manager for MTN Mobile Money, Mr Eli Hini, there has been an “increase in transaction volumes over the period of persons using MoMo for different purposes including shopping, payments, religious and other social contributions such as tithes, offerings, and wedding gifts and so on.”
With more transactions being made, more people are storing money in their MoMo wallets and attracting the attention of fraudsters.
How MoMo subscribers get scammed
Some social media reports show that when a fraud is about to take place, the fake agent sends a message to alert the MoMo subscriber of an error with his or her account and requests that the subscriber calls the number for assistance.
Some MoMo subscribers of MTN Zambia have been defrauded following a smishing on their accounts. In the smishing process, the fraudsters attempt to gain access to confidential information such as the MoMo Pin through an SMS.
Other subscribers receive messages asking for a refund of some amount of money that was wrongly sent to their MoMo account. The messages do not come from registered MTN lines and in some cases are identified by Truecaller as belonging to a scammer.
#ProtectYourMoMo by Avoiding Refund Scams In a refund scam you will receive an SMS notifying you that there is money in your MoMo which may be an overpayment, or a wrong deposit, or a wrong transfer. You are then asked to send the money into a different number.MTN Zambia
In Ghana, the situation is getting worse by the day with several users questioning the service’s claim to safety and security if it can’t track and root out the scammers employing its service for dubious and fraudulent activities.
Speaking about the scams and fraudulent activities, Mr Hini buttressed the need for developing a centralised identification system that will enable easy detection and apprehension of fraudsters. This is because as the use of MTN Mobile Money continues to rise, scammers will keep developing innovating ways of perpetrating their nefarious activities.
He also noted that the service has recorded some achievements in terms of tracking and apprehending fraudsters. Notable of this is the recent apprehension of over 40 scammers, carried out in collaboration with the police.
“In terms of arrests, I won’t say individuals, we’ve done over 40 arrests already and this includes swoops which means that we are able to predict and therefore go into spaces where we believe these people may be operating from and pick them up”,
Therefore, in the case of a scam, alerting the company and the police is the fastest way to track and retrieve the money from the fraudster. Trying to reach the perpetrators by call or message will buy them more time to cover the tracks of the scam.
Mobile Money services in Ghana seems to be majorly the prerogative of telecom companies. Other mobile money services in Ghana besides MTN includes Vodafone Cash launched in 2015 and AirtelTigo Money launched in 2017.
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