Fraud & Identity Fraud & Identity

Fraud & Identity Featured Article

July 25, 2017

Fraudsters Target Kenya with Scam Calls

Telecommunications fraud is a growing force that shows no signs of slowing down. It comes in many forms: IRSF, SIM-swap fraud, SMS fraud, mobile ad fraud, account takeover fraud and so on. Malicious actors are constantly concocting new ways to scam people out of their account details and money. It’s gotten to the point where every time it seems like we have fraud under control, a new attack hits that leaves countless people bankrupt.

It always seems like the place you live is where fraud occurs the most. After all, those are the news stories you tend to pay the most attention to, as you need to know when and how to protect yourself from scams. However, according to a recent Daily Nation article written by Edwin Okoth, Kenya is the world’s top spam scam target. Based on recent studies, Okoth asserts that, “Kenyan mobile phone subscribers rank highest on the list of potential victims of scammers besides receiving many unwanted calls.”

A new survey by caller identity device provider Truecaller, titled “Truecaller Insights Special Report: The Top 20 Countries Affected by Spam Calls,” takes a close look at which countries were affected the most by mobile phone fraud. The report states that South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt are in the top 10 when it comes to receiving spam calls. 

However, the report continues, “Kenya was a different case when compared to the other Top 20 countries listed in this research…Scam calls made up a whopping 91 percent of the reported spam calls…Scam calls are basically fraud attempts via your telephone, with scammers using a phony scheme to swindle money from unsuspecting members of the public.”

The most popular form of scam call that Kenyans receive involves the caller giving instructions on mobile money operations. Of course, these instructions are always fraudulent and result in the victim losing a large sum of money because they unknowingly hand over their account information to fraudsters. These callers typically pretend to be officials or agents of mobile phone carriers. Unlike in the U.S., these fraudsters don’t pretend to be checking up on late bills, threatening to bring the law down on the victim. Instead, they lure victims in by saying that they’re winners of a real or imaged promotion.

 It’s really that simple. Using fake promotions is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and yet it’s still working in Kenya. With 91 percent of reported scam calls being of this nature, it’s no wonder that Kenya is at the top of the target list. The ease in which fraudsters can manipulate victims into giving up their account information should serve as a warning to carriers, banks and individuals. People need to be more suspicious of callers, and banks and carriers need to keep fraud top of mind so that they notice suspicious account activity right away when it occurs.

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