• From the time the code was launched on 8th October 2022, ZICTA has managed to deactivate 140, 000 sim cards.
• The sim cards were being used to send scam messages.
• Security of the mobile money account is embedded in the consumer.
Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has disclosed that it has so far deactivated 140, 000 sim cards that were being used for fraud by sending scam messages to mobile money users.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, ZICTA Manager Corporate Communications, Hanford Chaaba said this follows the launch of a short code on 8th October 2022, which enables consumers to report scam messages to service providers.
Mr. Chaaba explained that the deactivated sim cards were reported by consumers who had received scam messages asking them to send money to unknown phone numbers.
He added that once a sim card is reported to the service provider and it is established that there was a scam communication between the two numbers, deactivation is done within 24hrs.
“We introduced a code where whenever you receive a scam message asking you to send money to a particular number, you report and then within 24 hours that number will have to be deactivated. This is the more reason why from the time the code was launched on 8th October 2022 up to where we are, we have managed to deactivate 140, 000 sim cards that were being used to send scam messages.”
“Consumers had to play their part by reporting these numbers whenever they receive scam. They check the number that has sent a scam message and report it to the service provider using the code *707#. And from there the service provider has to verify if there was a scam communication between the two numbers and within 24hrs if they establish so, they have to deactivate that number and hence the deactivation of 140, 000 numbers,” Mr. Chaaba stated.
And Mr. Chaaba advised consumers to secure their mobile money accounts and online platforms by not sharing their passwords and other personal information to avoid being scammed.
“Security of the mobile money account is embedded in the consumer, you are the only one with the PIN, and so it’s you to secure your pin. Security is not done by ZICTA. Be it physical, online or mobile money security, it starts with consumers because they are the owners of the accounts.”
“So if the consumers do not secure their platforms, how then do you expect a third party or an institution like Zambia Police or ZICTA to come and secure it for you? Do not share your PIN that is one security measure, and do not exchange mobile phones. Most of the cases that we see especially those that border on online fraud as well as mobile money fraud, in certain instances, consumers also have a role to play,” he added.
Recently, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) through its Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit arrested and jointly charged a Revenue Assurance Officer and Software Developer for fraudulently gaining access to a known mobile network operator’s mobile money application and three merchant accounts and stole funds amounting to K4, 875,142.