Mobile banking clients put on the alert
RWAMAGANA – Police has cautioned people who use mobile banking services to strictly safeguard their secret access numbers amidst a surge in fraud cases.
Speaking from Rwamagana this week, Police Spokesperson, Supt Theos Badege, warned that fraudsters had adopted latest technology in their illegal schemes.
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He was speaking hours after a man had allegedly been caught red-handed by officials at the Banque Populairie du Rwanda (BPR), Rwamagana branch, after transferring money from a friend’s account to his.
“People should be aware that thieves adapt to changes in technology…mobile money clients must keep secret numbers to themselves. We are on the alert but the primary protection must come from the users,” he advised.
The suspect will soon appear before the Ngoma court for mention.
Mobile money services allow users to check their account balances, make transactions, apply for credit, and transfer funds, among other banking transactions, through their mobile phone devices.
Issa Ndayisenga, a BPR mobile banking client, was tricked by a friend into revealing his account PIN number. He obliged so he could not lose the PIN number in the future.
“When I checked later, my account balance confirmed a lower amount of money, yet I had not withdrawn anything. I was confused…when I asked my neighbour, he informed me that someone may have been stealing my money. I immediately suspected the person I provided my PIN number,” he explained.
Ndayisenga, who had lost over Rwf550, 000, said he kept banking more money expecting to trap the thief one day.
He said he almost ceased to use the mobile banking platform convinced it was meant for the educated.
“One day, the suspect used my mobile phone ostensibly to send a message, claiming his was not charging,” Ndayisenga recalls.
“I realised he was examining my account details and I immediately alerted bank officials. He was netted the following day after transferring Rwf 200,000 from my account”.
According to rural-based mobile banking clients, such cases are common, particularly among the illiterate.
Claudine Ndayisenga, a resident of Rwamagana, says cases of mobile banking fraud are on the rise.
“The system is good… you access banking services anytime, anywhere using your mobile phone. No registration fees, no monthly fees, payments and salary alerts are free. But the illiterate (clients) find it rather difficult…I have seen many lose their hard-earned money,” she said.
Contact email: stephen.rwembeho[at]newtimes.co.rw