By Jacob Kudzai Mutisi
The number one crime in Zimbabwe is mobile money scam and the most affected is EcoCash according to our Cyber research.
There is now an immediate need to use biometric facial recognition as a way of identifying clients. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Zimbabwe with the identities of thousands of individuals having been compromised in recent years.
The criminals use identity theft to scam. Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else’s identity to steal money or gain other benefits. This leads to an innocent person ending up being arrested.
How this is done is easy. The criminal reproduces a plastic National Identity (ID), after getting information that a “target” has a lump sum in their mobile money account or is receiving some cash.
At say 4:25 pm just before the mobile money shop closes the criminal enters the shop, advises the customer assistant that he/she has lost her phone or it is stolen and requests for a subscriber identity module (SIM) card replacement.
Once one is issued with a replacement SIM card, the actual SIM card owner is immediately blocked and the criminal will now have full access to your mobile money account and the owner does not have access to the mobile phone company because it will be closed for business.
The only time that one will get access to a mobile money service provider is at 8 am the next day. By then, the mobile money wallet would have been wiped out.
However, it must be highlighted that when shops are closed, the customer can still reach out to Ecocash through Twitter, Facebook, emails, live chat, WhatsApp, and toll free lines 111 and 114 which will still be operational up to 11pm and open 7 am as alternatives.
There is now a need for mobile money companies to adopt the biometric facial recognition system and have a central database of all mobile money registered clients.
Biometric face recognition technology is used worldwide for fighting crime, preventing fraud, securing public safety, and improving customer experience across a vast range of locations and industries.
This is now the best technology that can be used to prevent mobile money fraud especially in Zimbabwe where 96 percent of all transactions are now being processed electronically. The use of biometrics makes use of our most unique physical features and behaviours to serve as digital identifiers that computers and software can interpret and utilise for identity-related applications. They can be used to identify someone in a biometric database or to verify the authenticity of a claimed identity.
We are urging Zimbabwe’s mobile money service provider to use biometric facial recognition to protect the vulnerable consumer who is now at the mercy of modern-day criminals.