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Digital payment providers partners with banks to fight fraud

Fraudsters have resorted to using simcards of dead people or old people in rural areas ignorant about transactions

| THE INDEPENDENT | The National Payment Systems Services Association has partnered with Uganda Bankers Association to fight fraud that had become a threat to the financial sector and the growth in digital financial services.

Richard Yego, the Managing Director of MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited revealed during a webinar on anti-Mobile Money fraud held at the MTN headquarters on October 13, 2022, that a Memorandum of Association has been signed between the two parties to collectively fight fraud in the financial sector.

“We have realized that fraudsters hitting bank and mobile money customers are the same and we, therefore, plan to put up a centralized cyber security monitoring system that will enable us to blacklist any person or number suspected to have defrauded a bank customer so that the suspected fraudster is unable to do the same to a mobile money customer and vice versa,” he said.

According to the Bank of Uganda, the country has 17 National Payment Systems Providers including MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money, and 25 commercial banks.

Mr. Yego said that MTN Mobile Money Uganda Ltd has strengthened its security features to include the inability of the mobile app to function without a simcard and to stop mobile money transactions within 24 hours once a simcard has been swapped.

This comes as mobile money fraud incidences sharply decline by more than 80 percent following MTN MoMo’s anti-fraud campaign launched in collaboration with Pastor Martin Ssempa dubbed Stop Bafere, more than three months ago.

The telecoms target, however, is to achieve zero mobile money fraud incidence level.

Fraudsters using simcards of dead or old people

Kenneth Natukunda, a Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS) at the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) said that it had become a challenge in fighting mobile money fraud amidst simcard registration exercise as fraudsters used simcards registered in the names of dead people or old people in rural areas ignorant about the transactions.

He urged mobile phone owners to verify simcards registered under their identification documents.

Patricia Amito, the spokesperson at Uganda Bankers Association said that financial sector customers should take interest in monitoring transactions in their bank accounts to stop any incidence of fraud.

Meanwhile, Andrew Rugamba, representing Airtel Mobile Commerce appealed to mobile money customers to follow the rules of security when transacting using mobile money, not to share their PINs, or the One-Time Passwords (OTP) with anyone, and not to use simple PIN combinations that can easily be guessed, such as 00000 or 12345 or 33333.

Other panelists on the webinar included; Pastor Martin Sempa of Makerere Community Church and Stephen Wakhula, Head of Audit and Forensics at MTN Mobile Money Uganda Limited.

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