Cyber Security

Remote SIM Swap used by Scam Artists to Defraud Kenyans

Fraudsters Remotely Swapping SIM Cards in Kenya

Kenyans are under increasing threat of financial fraud through their mobile phones as SIM swap fraud is one of the most prolific forms of fraud in Kenya.

If you haven’t experienced the SIM swap fraud, count yourself a lucky Kenyan. It’s a relatively new, sophisticated form of fraud that allows fraudsters to gain access to your mobile banking services like M-Pesa, KCB M-Pesa accounts, bank and other personal data. It’s tough to spot, and even tougher to undo the resulting damage.

Being ported without your consent is so frustrating, scary and serializing as a customer. The SIM cards we own is tied to our lives, and it is sad to say that fraudsters can quickly take it away from you without your service provider detecting them and once someone has control of your SIM card, to what extent can they control your life?

Many Kenyans are wondering if an insider leads Safaricom SIM swap Fraud, Corporate-fraud blogger Cyprian Nyakundih was at the forefront to link an insider to in his recent article,  Safaricom Insider Sim Swapping Cartel, but for now, we leave that matter to the Criminal investigative agencies in Kenya.

Mobile money fraud is a growing trend in Kenya, and according to Afrihackon 2018 report on Mobile money Frauds by Eric Mugo (Head of Fraud & Forensics Safaricom), from a target of KES 167.3 Million in the year 2017, they were able to recover only around KES 67 Million. As shown in the picture  below;


Scam Artists Remotely Swapping SIM Cards to Defraud Kenyans
Safaricom business mobile money trends 2017


There is a significant security flaw in Safaricom’s SIM Swapping procedure and that fraudsters can exploit this flaw for mobile banking fraud. These debate has popped up on Social Media the past few months, and that makes it clear that the SIM card has become a vital tool for online banking fraud syndicates.

Recently, a Kenyan by the name of Sammy is the latest victim of the attack, he/she shared his experience in a thread on Twitter. His experience has left many Kenyans in a panic mode, some even opting to disable mobile money and mobile banking services after the told stories of how they have lost thousands of shillings to fraudsters through unauthorized SIM swaps. Here is a snippet of his thread;

Safaricom SIM Swap Victim
Sammy from Twitter; Safaricom SIM Swap victim

The big question is how fraudsters can swap a line without your physical presence at a Safaricom shop or an authorized agent, Without your original nation ID card, without the original PIN or even without knowledge of your recent transactions details.

If you’re the victim of a SIM swap scam, it’s not the end of the world. Always act quickly to minimize the amount of damage inflicted by fraudsters, report the matter to the relevant agencies. Inform the bank or telecommunication company as soon as you have any suspicions to reduce the impact of the attack.

But there is only one hope, and that is Knowing SIM card fraud’s basics can help protect you against the most common forms, and recognizing an attack in progress can help you head off the worst of its effects. Read on the how to protect yourself on the link below.

Here’s how to stop SIM fraudsters from defrauding you.


Collins Kipkemboi Korir

Techie, Software Engineer, Web developer, founder of Techchains, Cyber Security, #tech & #infosec Blogger, Ethical Hacker

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