Rwanda: Public Cautioned Against Mobile Money Scammers

With the ever growing tech crimes, officials have issued a stern warning to the public to always be cautious about potential scams, especially on mobile gadgets and the internet.

According to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), it is always important to take a double check on the messages people receive, especially before acting upon them by say sending money.

"People should be careful and scrutinise messages that they receive especially if they involve Mobile Money. If you realise too late after you have already sent the money to the scammer, it is important to quickly run to the nearest RIB office," said Modeste Mbabazi, the RIB spokesperson.

Mbabazi also told The New Times that they are working with mobile money service providers like MTN Rwanda and Airtel-Tigo to follow up on the many cases that keep cropping up.

Yesterday, one of the victims took to Twitter cautioning the public about the scam.

Beware of scammers who send messages like this and call you with an emergency asking that you send MoMo back. I quickly did so without thinking twice. I know, silly but I did. Pray not so many are falling prey to such scams. @MTNRwanda @airtelrw

George Kagabo, the Head of Business Risk Management at MTN Rwanda, acknowledged the existence of such complaints but warned that as service providers, they have nothing to do about it apart from sensitising clients about such.

"We receive a couple of similar complaints from our clients weekly and we normally advise them to report to RIB because they are the institution responsible for arresting such criminals. We have a very good working relationship with security institutions when it comes to fighting cybercrimes," he said.

Kagabo called on mobile money subscribers to always double check their mobile money balance before engaging into a transaction with potential scammers.

Last year, 80 cybercrime cases valued at Rwf2.5 billion were filed, up from the 74 cases that were filed in 2016, which led to a loss of Rwf1.34 billion.

Cybercrimes are punished with five to seven years of imprisonment with fines from Rwf1,000,000 to Rwf5,000,000.