Betty received a text message; “C0NAL3RT Confirmed. You have received Ksh 3,065 from Mwalimu Jini 07********, new M-PESA balance is Ksh 6,965…” She was not expecting money from anyone.

Her phone rang. The person who had erroneously sent her the money was calling to claim it back. Betty, being the nice Betty we all know, decided it was only right to give the poor man his money. But before going to M-PESA, she dialed *234# to check her M-PESA mini-statement. Immediately, Betty knew a con was out get her hard earned cash!

Angry, and justifiably so, Betty reported the number to 333 and then to the police. After investigations from Fraud team together with the police, the swindler was arrested and prosecuted.

They hack your trust…

Betty is not alone. Fraudsters are always devising new ways to con people. Since it is hard for scams to infiltrate the M-PESA system, they opt for non-technical methods, or social engineering, as it is popularly known. This involves tricking unsuspecting people into breaking normal security procedures and finally manipulating them into among other things, revealing M-PESA PIN or withdrawing from ATMs remotely.

Don’t fall victim…

With that in mind, and for the security of your money, it is imperative to note the following:

  • Check M-PESA balance when unsure of transactions or dial *234# to get FREE mini-statement.
  • M-PESA SMS confirmation messages come from “M-PESA”– Fraudsters send M-PESA transaction from actual mobile numbers.
  • Use a PIN that is not easy for other people to guess.
  • Do not share your PIN with anyone, not even Safaricom staff (PIN YAKO, SIRI YAKO)
  • Do not dial codes or undertake instructions on your handset that you did not request for assistance from Safaricom Customer Care.
  • Get the new SIM card which allows you to save contacts for use while transacting instead of having to write down.
  • Report con cases FREE of charge through SMS to 333 – include the telephone number which initiated the fraudulent request.

Golden Rule – Why would someone offer assistance or give you instructions for M-PESA if you did not seek help? Let us know of other scams or ways in which you have avoided them in the comments section.