Fraudsters move to mobile devices

Fraudsters are capitalising on the growing number of subscribers in Nigeria and other countries in Africa to steal the cash of unsuspecting victims.

According to Kaspersky Lab research, subscriber identity module (SIM) swap frauds have become very common. In South Africa, it more than double last year, according a report of South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC).

SIM swap fraud happens when someone convinces your carrier to switch your phone number over to a SIM card that a criminal possesses. In some cases, there are carrier’s employees working together with criminals. By diverting your incoming SMS messages, scammers can easily complete the text-based two-factor authentication checks that protect your most sensitive accounts in financial services, social networks, webmail services and instant messengers.

Experts who spoke during Kaspersky Lab’s annual Cyber Security Weekend in South Africa said many African countries are suited to mobile payment methods. In fact, research notes that at the end of 2017, there were 135 live mobile money services across the sub-Saharan African region, with 122 million active accounts.

While payment methods through mobiles offer a convenience that is hard to debate, Kaspersky Lab research shows that mobile payments and the banking system are suffering a wave of attack – mostly powered by SIM swap fraud – and people are losing their money as a result.