Analysts have confirmed that Africa is the hub of the global mobile money market.
It does make sense, just this morning I paid for my transport using my mobile money app then thereafter I sent some money back home using the same app. According to a Kaspersky report the African market accounts for 46% of global accounts this means that there’s a need to be extra cautious when it comes to keeping your mobile wallet safe.
Companies like PayPal have expressed interest in the growing market and have announced their plans to expand its Xoom money transfer service to other countries across the continent. However, the greatest challenge will be the risks that will be associated with mobile wallets payments, as it continues to grow not many people know how to keep their wallets safe.
Many people have opted to go cashless.
From 2019 to 2021 there has been a surge in mobile wallets especially after the pandemic which led to many people resorting to going cashless in an attempt to try and curb Covid-19. As people have discovered that they can pretty much pay for anything from anywhere a lot more people have their money on their mobile wallets. Currently, around 481 million people in Africa are registered mobile money users.
Are mobile wallets compromised? This is what Bethwel Opil, Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa had to say:
“While there is ample benefit to be gained from mobile money, spam, phishing, social engineering, and fraud all form part of the cyberattack landscape when it comes to this innovation. Threat actors are constantly coming up with more innovative tactics to compromise people’s wallets whether these pertain to traditional bank accounts or mobile wallets. It is therefore imperative that consumers remain vigilant and apply common sense to their transactions and engagements with mobile money services.”
With more people opting to go cashless and mobile money industry taking over and expanding into new markets it is expected for the region to exceed half a billion accounts by the end of 2021.
The report also gave tips on how to keep your mobile money safe:
- One of the best ways to avoid having a device being compromised is to avoid clicking on malicious emails, attachments, or other messages. Users must look out for red flags in communication from those purporting to be from service providers. For example, they need to be wary of grammatical mistakes, attempts to incite a sense of urgency or danger, e-mail addresses and links that differ from the official ones (even if just by one letter), and so on.
- Never trust messages unconditionally. It is imperative to check any potential issues through one’s personal account on the Website or in the mobile money app. This is especially important when it comes to messages confirming the crediting of funds.
- A user must also never use an unfamiliar delivery service especially when it comes to online purchases. Users must be careful of using alternative money transfer methods to the ones they are comfortable with. These are typically not covered by the protection programs of mobile money or money transfer applications.
- It goes without saying that users must never give out personal information beyond what is necessary for the transaction. This includes usernames and passwords.
Bethwil Opil added:
“In many respects, it is still the ‘Wild West’ when it comes to mobile money and e-wallets. Even though the solutions are safely used by millions of people daily, hackers are always on the lookout for soft targets. Constant vigilance and education remain essential to safeguard against any potential compromises.”