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TNM, Airtel Malawi urge govt to help combat mobile money fraud

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Malawi , 02 Sep 2021

Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) and Airtel Malawi have urged authorities to step up efforts to combat mobile money fraud.

The two companies told the Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and Communication that access to mobile phones in the country’s prisons is a likely source of fraudulent activity.

TNM CEO Arnold Mbana told the Committee that according to the company’s investigations, the majority of phone calls from fraudsters that target mobile money customers come from within prisons.

Working with prison authorities, Mbana said the company was able to confiscate one hundred mobile phones from inmates and that over 130 handsets have so far been blocked.

Mbana said the criminals use identity theft, fake promotional SIM swap services, SMS fraud as well as impersonation by calling random numbers informing people they have property at the border that requires a fee for clearance.

“Through our system, we are able to track down people involved in fraudulent activities but still we need the government to play its role in helping to arrest people aiding prisoners. Thousands of our customers are being victimised, but we are implementing various strategies to curb this situation including carrying out awareness campaigns and blocking SIM cards and handsets that are used for fraudulent activities,” he added.

Airtel Money country director Polycarp Ndekana said the situation was getting out hand and called for more collaboration with security agencies.

“We have been sending out messages warning our customers to refrain from revealing their Airtel money pin or entertaining any calls from people asking for money but still people are being duped,” said Ndekana.

In December last year, a court in Malawi convicted and sentenced a prison warder to two years in jail for supplying SIM cards to prisoners who used the cards to steal money from mobile money users.

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