Safaricom cautions customers on SIM data sharing after fraudulent SIM swaps

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Safaricom Friday issued a public caution to its customers to be wary of fraudulent SIM swaps after several customers raised concern with the telco’s commitment to protecting its customer data and money transfer via its mobile money platform M-PESA.

The telco announced that it had noted growing concerns from the public on social engineering and theft of customer information leading to fraudulent SIM swaps and theft.

“We wish to advise customers to report any suspected interference with their SIM Cards or theft of personal details to us by calling 100 or 200, or via a text message to 333 for assistance. Customers should also report these cases to law enforcing agencies with urgency,” the firm announced in a statement. “As a precautionary measure against social engineering, enabled by sharing of personal details, we would also like to remind our customers to safeguard information such as SIM and M-PESA PINs, dates of birth and national identity numbers.”

The firm assured Kenyans that it does not ask for personal information, and only contacts customers through its official number – 0722 000 000. If called by anybody purporting to be a Safaricom customer care representative using a different number, the firm advised its customers to immediately end the call and dial its customer care line 100 or 200 for clarification and assistance.

On July 16,  a Twitter user, Sammy Ynwa detailed how his SIM was fraudulently swapped by fraudsters pretending to be from Safaricom. Though he contacted the firm several times, it seems the unsuspecting customer care agents went ahead with the SIM swap. For hours, the customer had to wait to be attended to by Safaricom as the thieves accessed his mobile money wallet and banks linked to it.

Kenyans leave their personal details in many places including at reception desks, banks, supermarkets among others and at voter registration centers. Though shocking, the fraudulent SIM swaps might lead to a turnaround on some of the security requirements to access buildings and offices in major parts of the country.