CBK warns of mobile money fraud risk on unverified SIM cards

Users of mobile money services are at risk of being conned by fraudsters masquerading as remote registrars.

The Central Bank of Kenya has said in a circular that virtual onboarding of customers was denying mobile money players, including Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya, a chance to verify that the people sending and receiving money are the same ones that registered on their platforms.

CBK has urged mobile money service providers and banks  to tighten their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing checks to reduce the risks involved in remote onboarding of customers.

Airtel and Safaricom relied heavily on online portals to register and update customers’ details after the regulator in 2022 threatened to deactivate SIM cards whose owners did not comply.

The rules require telcos to record full names of customers, ID number and date of birth, gender and physical address of subscribers. But the use of virtual registration tools has left the telcos with little room to know if those registering are using their own documents or not.

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