MTN Ghana, a mobile telecommunications company, has urged users of its mobile money service to desist from doing third party transactions.
Such transactions, which include loading the wallet of others, as well as cash-out services, exposed users to fraudulent activities using mobile money, something that is currently on the rise.
The Manager of Mobile Money Analytics and Compliance at MTN Ghana, Mr Solomon Hayford, told journalists at a capacity building workshop that third party transactions often ended up as wrong transactions, and for money laundering purposes, it was not the best.
“We, as a service provider, do not encourage customers to do this. If you decide to use that route, it is wrong in itself and the agents will charge you.”
“But what the agents are supposed to do is to tell you that the transaction is not permitted. Except there is a compromise between yourself and your agent, that is when probably some of these charges are taken,” he said at a media workshop in Accra.
Mr Hayford explained that most of the complaints received by the company, with respect to wrong transactions, had to do with people trying to load the wallet of others.
“We discourage such transactions. You realise that for many of the instances where people report that they sent money wrongly to others, they actually were trying to put money on another person’s wallet. It also exposes you to money laundering as you are not able to identify the true person that wanted to load money onto his or her wallet,” he said.
MTN fights fraud
The General Manager, Mobile Financial Services of MTN Ghana, Mr Eli Hini, said the mobile money service had experienced a few setbacks with fraud, which have so far been customer related and system related.
Some of these customer-related setbacks are fraud cases, which have been categorised under phishing, advance fee scams, overcharging by merchants, identity theft or impersonation and cash out theft.
That, he explained, was a serious cause for concern for MTN Ghana and the company was, therefore, working with the Ghana Police Service and e-Crime Bureau to bring the situation under control.
“As a service provider, MTN has undertaken several steps to ensure that our systems are robust enough to provide a secure service. As a result of the system enhancements, MTN was granted ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification after an assessment conducted by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance (LQRA). The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification demonstrates that MTN mobile money has enhanced services that meet international standards,” he said.
MTN launched the mobile money service in 2009 to provide an efficient means of making financial transactions through mobile devices.
Over time, MTN introduced other innovative services on the platform including payment options such as school fees, bill payment, international remittance service, cardless ATM withdrawal option, wallet to bank account, quarterly interest payments, Y’ello Save and many more services which are offered in partnership with 16 banks in Ghana.
“Our main aim is to drive a cashless agenda through financial inclusion and we have been highly commended for our pioneering role. The convenience is being tempered with by some unscrupulous persons. People are finding creative and sophisticated ways to defraud people who use the mobile money service,” he said.
Media must secure websites
The Founder & Principal Consultant of e-Crime Bureau, Mr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, said their analysis had established that web portals belonging to some media houses were currently under cyber-attacks.
The attackers, he said, were using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack schemes to flood traffic of targeted media houses. While exact facts into the various incidents are not readily available, data from the various incidents, patterns of the attacks and timeline analysis associated with the various attacks suggest a correlation between the media campaign against illegal mining and the current cyber warfare targeting media houses.
“Media organisations are, therefore, advised to ensure the security of their web portals by implementing regular traffic monitoring, migration from share-hosting to dedicated hosting services, conducting security assessment of the website infrastructure and deployment of third party applications to detect and prevent cyber intrusions among other cyber safety best practices,” he said.
Role of the media
The workshop was organised by MTN Ghana in collaboration with e-Crime to arm the media with enough information and also show them the various means being used by the perpetrators to defraud customers.
Mr Hini said although MTN Ghana was taking steps to educate customers, the media had an important role to play in making sure that the information got to the public.
“We are here to educate the media so that you can support in the public education. The more people become aware, the less vulnerable they are. As MTN pursues its vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world, we will work closely with security agencies to curb the growing concern about mobile money fraud,” he said.