Kenyans call attention to mobile money fraud at cybercrime forum

Dr David Njoga Head of Cyber Security Policy Committee with Kennedy Luenyi from the County Commissioner’s offices during the public participation forum on the enactment of Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Regulations, 2023. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

A section of Nakuru residents feel that mobile money fraud is the biggest challenge facing the country when it comes to cybercrime.

While giving their views on the enactment of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Regulations 2023, participants lamented that nothing has been done to curb fraud related to mobile money transfers.

Abdul Juma from the Muslim Association of Nakuru said it is still difficult to recover money sent wrongly to strangers or fraudsters.

He said even with the reversal options in some mobile networks, it often depends on the willingness of the person receiving the money to reverse it.

“Once the person you wrongly send money to withdraws it or transfers it to another person, you can never recover it,” said Mr Juma.

He further stated that when reports are made to the mobile network operators, complainants are advised to report to the police, who sometimes take weeks or months to follow-up.

Juma said mobile networks should use their security features to help victims recover their money.

“When we register our mobile lines, we give our personal details. The same can be used by mobile network companies and police to track fraudsters," he said.

Stella Muthoni, an interpreter for the deaf, said fraudsters mostly target the vulnerable in society, desperate people in need of money, the elderly who do not understand technology, persons with disabilities and the illiterate.

“Even the vulnerable own mobile phones and without sensitisation, they become victims of mobile fraud,” said Ms Muthoni.

James Wangai, a teacher, said that fraudsters had designed other ways to extort money including faked abductions, well calculated messages and hacking into friends' accounts.

“Recently we sent money to our friends for burial plans and medical bills, only to discover their social media accounts including WhatsApp had been hacked,” he said.

Kennedy Luenyi from the County Commissioner’s office said the public participation will enable them to come up with better regulations for cybercrime.

Dr David Njoga, Head of the Cyber Security Policy Committee said the move from analogue to digital has exposed Kenyans to cybercrime, which is a threat to the socio-economic landscape of the country.

He said the aim of the new regulations was to manage digital security using cyber security centres, protect critical information that supports Kenyans' livelihoods and facilitate capacity building, adding that the current regulations would be improved.

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