Public cautioned against ‘mobile money’ scammers

An MTN mobile money subscriber checks his balance on a mobile phone.

With the ever evolving tech crimes, officials have issued a stern warning to the public to always be cautious about potential scams, especially on mobile gadgets and the internet.

According to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), it is always important to double check on the messages people receive, especially before acting upon them by, say, sending money.

“People should be careful and scrutinise messages they receive especially if they involve, mobile money. If you realise it after you have already sent the money to the scammer, it is important to quickly alert the nearest RIB office,” said Modeste Mbabazi, the RIB spokesperson.

Mbabazi also told The New Times, that they are working with mobile money service providers, like MTN Rwanda and Airtel-Tigo, to follow up on the many cases that keep cropping up.

Yesterday, one of the latest victims took to Twitter, cautioning the public about the scam.

“Beware of scammers who send messages like this and call you with an emergency asking that you send MoMo (mobile money) back. I quickly did so without thinking twice. I know, silly but I did. Pray not so many are falling prey to such scams,” Patience Mutesi tweeted, and posted the text message she received on her phone disguised as an alert for mobile money transaction.

George Kagabo, the Head of Business Risk Management at MTN Rwanda, acknowledged the existence of such complaints but warned that, as service providers, they have nothing to do about it apart from sensitising clients about such.

“We receive a couple of similar complaints from our clients weekly and normally advise them to report to RIB, because they are the organ responsible for arresting such criminals.  We have a very good working relationship with security agencies when it comes to fighting cybercrime,” he said.

Kagabo called on mobile money subscribers to always double check their mobile money balance before engaging into a transaction with potential scammers. 

Last year, 80 cybercrime cases valued at Rwf2.5 billion were filed, up from the 74 cases that were filed in 2016, which led to a loss of Rwf1.34 billion.

Cybercrimes are punished with five to seven years of imprisonment with fines from Rwf1,000,000 to Rwf5,000,000.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

 

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