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Nowadays, exchanging SIM cards in Rwanda has become a lengthy process that requires the subscriber to appear in person at a telecommunications service center. Officers were stripped of this service.

Sim-swap, a modern form of fraud, has caused several subscribers to lose money.

The Sim-swap scam does not only concern Rwanda, but other countries in the East African region, continent and world.

In 2019, South Africa reported that within a year, SIM card swapping incidents had doubled.

Fabio Assolini, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said in a 2019 report that scams have become common in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Africa, particularly South Africa.

Assolini said the total amount of money lost in fraud varies by country, although there are extreme cases.

For example, one victim from the United Arab Emirates in 2019 lost $1 million while another from South Africa lost $20,000 to SIM card swapping fraudsters.

A Kenyan national, Stanley Wanjiku, revealed in July 2018 that he had lost $18,000 to fraudsters. “On average, fraudsters can steal $2,500 to $3,000 per victim, while the cost of SIM card swapping starts between $10 and $40, Assolini said.

SIM card swapping fraud occurs when someone convinces your mobile carrier to transfer your phone number to a SIM card held by a criminal.

In some cases, employees of telecommunications companies collaborate with criminals. Kenya’s main telecommunications operator, Safaricom, claims that SIM swapping occurs when “fraudsters replace and take control of the customer line”.

“Fraudsters go so far as to save an existing number to a new SIM card in order to intercept notifications, one-time passwords, online banking profile and transactions, as well as change account security settings “, explains Safaricom on its website.

Hannington Oduor, a security systems analyst at Kenya Power, told The Standard the tricks used by fraudsters to make successful SIM swaps. “SIM-swap is basically a form of identity theft. In other circles, it’s called identity theft.

The fraudster would call you and play mind games on you. For example, after receiving the call, he or she will refer to you by your full name, saying that he is calling you from your network service provider,” Oduor said.

“They will then read your full ID number and ask you to confirm if the numbers are correct. They do this to gain your trust. This is what they want in the first step, before continuing the fraud.

“The second stage of their deception is giving instructions. They would be calm and patient, and you wouldn’t know that the commands they’re doing lead them to get more information about your mobile money or enable them to activate SIM card swap prompts,” Cybersecurity added. . expert.

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