Mobile phone fraud in the form of SIM box fraud is costing Kenya Ksh. 40m a month a report by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki on Illicit Financial Flows at the African Union Summit has revealed.
According to Mbeki, This new type of fraud involves a person or organization buying thousands of SIM cards offering free or low-cost calls to mobile numbers. Basically, the y work by diverting international calls and transforming them into local calls.
The Standard reports that the fraud was affecting both service providers and governments.
Several other countries in Africa have suffered the same problem and they include Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
According to the report, some SIM cards generated about 10 cents per minute for more than 20 days per month, which cost the operator up to $3,000 per SIM card monthly in lost revenue
Back at home, Safaricom has invested in a SIM box detection software that is able to detect these calls and disconnect them within minutes.
Safaricom Corporate Affairs Director Nzioka Waita, “We detect SIM box usage within five minutes of it coming online and bar the connection immediately. We no longer lose revenues to SIM box fraudsters, and the poor quality connection era is gone,” said Mr Waita admitting that SIM box fraud ha been a concern to the company.