Somaliland: How MPESA Criminals Operate in Kenya



Somalilandsun- MPESA which is the equivalent of Somaliland’s zaad and e-dahab e-banking has not only eased banking for locals it is also a target for fraudsters.

Below is an analysis published on the subject by African Press International (API)

SALOME (not her real name) was woken up by an incoming call in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The caller identified herself as Patricia of safaricom care centre. Patricia told her that her name was randomly sampled to be among the customers to answer a series of questions on their satisfaction with safaricom’s value added services. The caller had polished English and was very polite typical of Safaricom customer care agents. Meanwhile, the caller took her through several advises when using safaricom services, particularly on the need to keep secret all your Mpesa pin. When the conversation got deeper, the caller requested for Salome’s SIM CARD PIN to assist her(the caller) demonstrate a point. Note that the caller did not ask for MPESA pin and so it appeared completely safe.

The moment she finished giving the 4 digit SIM card PIN, the caller disconnected the call immediately. It was a few minutes past 6.00am and she could no longer use her phone. She then realized there was no safaricom network on her phone and thought her phone was faulty. She couldn’t do much as no shops were open at that time. At 8.20am after taking breakfast she went to a mobile phone repair shop just outside her house. She gave out her phone for repair, only for the technician to realize the phone was ok as it was working with other SIM cards. She was advised to replace her SIM card and did exactly that. The replaced SIM card was now working but she had to activate her MPESA afresh so that she could pay for the replacement service. To her dismay, a whole Ksh 70,000.00 was missing from her MPESA. The balance as per the previous night was Ksh. 73,578.00. The new balance was Slightly over Ksh3000.00 YES, she gave the wrong information to a clever CRIMINAL. NB; THE CRIMINAL DID NOT NEED TO GET MPESA PIN TO STEAL THE MONEY


Patricia(the criminal) was savvy enough to know that Salome wouldn’t have much problem giving her SIM PIN as the sim pin is NEVER used for MPESA. The criminal had bought a new inactivated sim to use for a SIM SWAP. As she communicated to Salome with one phone, the other hand held a handset with the inactivated sim, ready to do a SIM SWAP. Immediately Salome disclosed her sim pin, the criminal did a sim swap; remember a sim swap only requires you enter the pin you originally used before losing the previous sim. The deal was done. He then activated MPESA using the same PIN as the START KEY and then proceeded to do the worst; Transferring a cool 70,000.00 from Salome’s line. All this time, Salome was waiting for shops to open to take her phone for “repair”. That’s how MPESA CRIMINALS OPERATE. BE WARNED!

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