Rwanda: MTN Rwanda Moves to Curb Mobile Money Fraud

Telecommunication operator MTN Rwanda will effective Thursday, September 24, roll out a new cash withdrawal process, an initiative that aims at curtailing the growing number of mobile money fraudsters.

According to Teta Mpyisi, the Brand and Sponsorship Senior Manager at MTN Rwanda, "All mobile money customers will have to pre-authorize any withdrawal request by dialing *182*7# before an agent can send a withdrawal prompt message".

The value of funds transferred via Mobile Money grew by 450 per cent between January and April this year to reach Rwf 40 billion (over $ $42 million), data from Rwanda Utilities Regulation Authority shows.

Besides, the increased uptake and adoption of Mobile Money across the country, operations by fraudsters to take advantage of unsuspecting clients have been on the rise and point towards customer vulnerability.

For instance, latest figures released mid-June this year by Rwanda Investigation Bureau indicate that the body received about 80 cases of people whose money was stolen from mobile phones. In these schemes, close to Rwf12 million was stolen.

In an earlier interview, John Rwangombwa, Central Bank Governor told The New Times that in just two months of the lockdown digital payments increased more than five times.

"Mobile money transactions have bank accounts that show the float - the amount of electronic money being transacted within the population. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, this float was Rwf28 billion and by mid-May, it had grown to Rwf60 billion."

Following the spike, officials warned that there was urgent action towards raising public awareness on cyber safety and security, especially targeting mobile money wallets which more than half of Rwandans own.

In this regard, Mpyisi said that the new process is a security enforcement feature to the ordinary way of withdrawing money.

"This is to ensure that the MoMo platform remains safe and secured while protecting our customers from fraudsters who want to take advantage of them".

Additionally, we require customers to be diligent when approving transactions.