Safaricom has in the recent past reported increasing fraud statistics in the market. Public exposure of fraud related losses either by internal or external parties is however not a custom by Kenyan companies fearing deposition in the market and ruined publicity.
Fraudulent banking scheme, electronic theft, and promotion rigs are some of the reported cases that have been on the rise lately with speculation of inside parties involved. End of March saw top executives step down without a single word from the company on the possible reason of resignation. Even though the public felt that Safaricom promotion rig could be the reason, the company denied the allegation.
The most recent fraud has been theft of electronic airtime which has seen multi-million shillings worth of airtime lost. The company’s computer system reported to have been hacked interfered with the system’s functioning to retrieve airtime. So far, investigation officers have managed to trace one suspect said to have done the unauthorized transaction within Nairobi County with the help of other un-revealed parties.
About 10,000 subscribers have also been linked with the identified theft of Kshs 20,000 worth of airtime distributed at half price. Away from bundles ‘mwitu’, half-priced airtime has been in circulation of late which could mean serious penalties for unsuspecting subscribers who find it pocket friendly.
Relatives, friends and colleagues are possible targets of such offers since fraudsters spread information by word of mouth and not usual media platforms. Culprits could face a possible jail term for handling stolen property.
In an interview with the business daily, Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore did not make specific comments on the issue since it is still under investigation. He however promised that the company would invest on more technology and security systems to curb such crimes.
In the ongoing investigation, stolen airtime has been traced using serial numbers to trail their circulation in the market place with a majority of the victims found using the airtime suffering blockage by the telco. With the investigation still on going, thousands of Safaricom subscribers have had their phones blocked therefore reporting inability to use the company’s service which has led to arrest of suspects.
The company is adamant to track subscribers who have used the airtime as a lead to reach possible fraudsters involved in the multi-million theft. As for the employees involved, the company has lately introduced stringent anti-fraud regulations in the company.