The Director of AirtelTigo Money, Thompson Sakyi has said customer education and alertness, more than anything else, are the key to eliminating mobile money fraud.
Speaking exclusively Techgh24, he said mobile money fraudsters basically use social engineering, which is very dynamic in nature and hard to predict, adding that they target unsuspecting and inquisitive customers, and not the mobile money platform itself.
He believes the primary means of combatting the multi-phase social engineering tactics employed by the fraudsters is the consistent customer education that will keep customers alert to the fraudster tricks.
It would be recalled that mobile money market leader, MTN Mobile Money Limited recently announced that, in addition to regular customer education, it is also investing some US$2.5 million into artificial intelligence to be able to predict and stop mobile money fraudsters.it is also investing some US$2.5 million into artificial intelligence to be able to predict and stop mobile money fraudsters.
But Thompson Sakyi said he wonders how such an investment will pan out since social engineering is dynamic and fraudsters would always adopt new tactics once they realize one method had be figured out.
He then asked “if artificial intelligence is efficient in fighting a social engineering phenomenon like mobile money fraud then why are the banks not employing artificial engineering since over 70% of fraud in the financial sector happens in banks and to bank customers?”
The AirtelTigo Money Director said their mobile money platform is very safe and secure from any fraudster activity, but what they have found is that fraudster target customers with tactics such as employment opportunities, scholarships, promotion wins and others, and that is how they get the curious ones.
Thompson Sakyi said what AirtelTigo therefore does is to invest in educating their customers about what signposts to look out for to determine if a transaction in fraudulent or genuine.
He said they go to the markets, churches, mosques, schools and other identifiable groups to educate them on daily basis about how to keep fraudster at bay.
Explaining some of way they educate customers, he said “we tell them that if the SMS ID used in sending you the message is not ATMoney then it is not from us and you must either avoid or report it to us by calling 100.
“We also tell them that our Customer Service team will never call you and ask for your mobile money PIN, so if any one calls and asks for your mobile money PIN you should flag it immediately and report to us,” he said.
Thompson Sakyi also said AirtelTigo never calls any customer with any other number than 0260000100, so any call from any other number claiming to be calling from AirtelTigo office is fraudulent and must be flagged and reported.
“When we say flag it, we mean never engage the person – cut the call immediately and report the transaction by calling 100,” he emphasized.
In terms of the arrest of fraudsters, he said in nine out of 10 fraud cases reported, they are unable to get the fraudsters because the customer reported late, adding however that there have been cases where they assisted the police to trace and arrest some fraudsters.
Unfortunately, he said, in some cases the victims preferred the matter to be kept quiet, while in other cases the fraudsters paid back the money after realizing the police was after them, so the victims refused to help in prosecuting the cases further, and the police are forced to discontinue.
The AirtelTigo Money Director their mobile money platform is fully secured against fraud and their customer levels and usage of the platform is growing significantly, even though he stopped short of giving the volume and value of transactions on the platform.
He mentioned that the two key value-added services on the AirtelTigo Money platform – the insurance policy and the pension scheme for the informal sector are growing in leaps and bounds.
Thompson Sakyi said the insurance policy in collaboration with BIMA Insurance has clocked millions of customers over the past six years, while in just two months, the pension scheme on the platform has also attracted over 10,000 users.
“We are proud of these two products because they have given the opportunity to the many unbanked Ghanaians in informal sector to get insurance cover and also to save towards pension in the future,” he said.