Mobile Money : Beware of Fraud!

Thieves eavesdrop to intercept the operation and swindle the money to their account.

With developments in technology, thieves are also coming with new pranks to exercise their trade. The latest in town is that thieves equipped with a commercial sim card, hang around mobile money transfer kiosks, to defraud people as they carry out their transactions. The thief stands so close that he is able to hear the client communicate the number to the kiosk operator; as the client calls out the number orally, the thief rapidly types it in his phone and sends a messages before the kiosk operator such that by the time the operator finishes the operation, the message sent by the thief must have been confirmed by the client. It is only after a short while and upon verification that the victim realizes that the number to which he or she confirmed the transaction was not that of the kiosk operator. By this time the thief would have left the scene already.

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This paper is inspired by the experience of a lady who witnessed another lady being defrauded of the sum of FCFA 200,000. The story goes that the lady was at the kiosk to do a transaction herself but noticed a guy was standing so close and was fidgeting with the phone as the lady communicated her number to the kiosk operator. The lady repeatedly asked to be given the money as she had already confirmed it on her phone and received a message. However, the kiosk operator kept on saying she had not received the message in her own phone. After a long while when the operator expected that the message should have come to her phone, she asked the lady to show her the message on her phone. It was only then she discovered the confirmed message was not from the phone of the kiosk operator but an unknown number. This is when the lady discovered the boy who was standing as if he was waiting for his turn to carry out a transaction, had left the scene and immediately suspected he was responsible for the fraud.

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It is therefore necessary to write out one’s number on a piece of paper rather than shout it out to the hearing of everybody. It is worthy to state that this is done at times with the complicity of the kiosk operator who deliberately takes time to do the operation so as to give time to the fraud nearby to do the operation before her and they share the booty.

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Closely linked to this story is that of a boy who went to the newly opened Douala Mall and realized a lady was trailing him everywhere he went. At one point the lady came up to him and said she was doing so because the boy resembled his son who died and moving with him made her feel like a mother once more. He requested that she leaves the shop the boy should just shout and call him mother to bid her goodbye which he did. But when he went to the counter he realized the lady’s bill of FCFA 42,000 was added on his and there was no way he could explain that he wasn’t with the lady he had just called his mother.

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