Tackling fraud: Safaricom fires 28 employees over fraud-related offences

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BD>>> Safaricom fired 28 employees in the year ended March 2021 for fraud-related offences, a jump from 16 dismissals the year before.

The telco’s latest sustainability report released Wednesday indicated it conducted 36 investigations into alleged fraud, dismissed the 28 and warned 19 employees.

One case was taken to government agencies for further action.

The majority of the cases, 22, related to data privacy with eight involving breach of policy and four SIM swap cases. Two cases involved asset misappropriation.

Safaricom says it has established fraud management squads specialising in analytics, customer awareness and process reviews to drive safety for clients through accelerated use of machine learning and automation, continuous fraud awareness and process reviews.

“The squads have completed three key initiatives: targeting irregular subscriber registrations, focused awareness to customers and a review of the processes followed by SIM selling outlets,” Safaricom says in the report.

Data protection has become a key area of focus since the government set up rules to restrict the State and companies handling of information to prevent misuse imposing a fine of up to Sh5 million or one per cent of annual turnover for corporations.

A review by business advisory firm Ernst & Young shows that 41 per cent of firms transfer their clients personal data to third party service providers.

It found that 53 per cent of companies do not seek the consent of their customers, thus violating the law that protects sensitive private information.

Sharing of client information to third parties has led to unregulated text messages, unsolicited emails or marketing of services and products such as insurance policies.

Individuals also risk having their identities cloned, exposing them to bank fraud among other perils.

Safaricom said identity theft and social engineering fraud have been some of the most common forms of fraud targeting customers of the mobile money platform M-Pesa.

“We highlighted the issues through an above-the-line campaign under the tag Jichanue and Take Control, using radio, TV and digital channels,” Safaricom said.

“With the aim to reach all customers, we sent out over 63 million SMS broadcasts. Additionally, our digital channels reached 9.5 million people and our radio campaign reached over eight million people,” the telco said.

Fraud incidences are also conducted externally with hackers targeting weaknesses in systems.

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya’s sector statistics report for July to September 2020 there were 35.1 million cyber security incidents detected, representing an increase of 152.9 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

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