Zambia could pay heavy price for mobile money fraud

Zambia could pay heavy price for mobile money fraud

Local mobile money subscribers rush to regulator with complaints of theft from their accounts.

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) said it has been inundated with complaints from local mobile money service subscribers regarding theft from their accounts.

In an immediate response, ZICTA is understood to have ordered all MNOs to establish an SMS and voice activity threshold that must be met prior to authorising mobile money withdraws or transfers on any mobile money account.

Ngabo Nankonde, ZICTA corporate communications manager said the threshold is a combined total of at least 20 activities (voice and SMS).

"The authority has continued to receive numerously complaints from complainants regarding inaccurately and incorrectly registered SIM cards that have been identified as potential conduit to commit various forms of digital crimes," said Nankonde.

She accused some mobile money agents and dealers of conspiring with fraudsters to commit crime using unregistered or false SIM cards.

Airtel Zambia Eastern Province regional manager Eddie Banda said the company incurred a loss of close to K50 000 in five days due to fraud.

Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba expressed concern over the potential loss of public confidence in the local mobile money market, if the problem is not dealt with effectively.

He said the government "will soon" establish the Zambia National Cyber Security Agency to enforce cybercrime legislation. However, no further details are available as to when the body will become operational or what specific legislation is expected to be enforced.