While increased mobile phone and Internet penetration have made a difference in the way people communicate today, the development have also opened up more avenues to scammers.
Business News has established that the scammers are using mobile phones to call or send messages to commercial bank customers and mobile money account holders with different instructions or purporting that customers have won promotions or have been sent money by mistake in their mobile wallets or bank accounts.
In some cases the fraudsters pose as officers of certain companies or government departments in the end ripping the customers off or stealing their personal information.
Mobile phone users and bank customers have fallen victim to the fraudsters who trick unsuspecting consumers, advising them to send their bank details or to make cash reversals, claiming money has been sent to their accounts by mistake.
Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) and major mobile phone service providers have confirmed receiving numerous reports from customers complaining they have lost money to fraudsters.
BAM president Paul Guta said in an interview the association shall continue to alert its customers to take proactive measures against these fraudsters.
“We are, therefore, appealing to customers to keep their account details and passwords confidential and we are advising our customers to ignore and not to respond or attend to messages sent with such communications,” he said.
On his part, TNM head of division responsible for marketing Sobhuza Ngwenya said their customers have no obligation to make cash reversals; hence, if someone claims they have sent money to their accounts by mistake, customers should call the network provider to make the reversal.
“Frauds do happen and we have some mitigation measures which we have put in place. The first is the sim card registration exercise that is supposed to identify people found doing this if they report to the police.
“All notifications come through an SMS and if someone does not receive that notification, they have a way to check the balance before they can return the money claimed to have been sent accidentally to their mobile wallet accounts,” he said. Earlier, Airtel Malawi corporate communications and corporate social responsibility (CSR) manager Nora Chavula-Chirwa said Airtel continuously sensitises its customers to keeping their personal information safe and confidential.