Fraud on the MTN (Mobile Money) network is on the rise – its impact is so widespread and difficult to think through.
Even with the sophisticated machines, the MTN network uses to operate its Mobile Money service, these fraudsters are still able to sneak through, making several of MTN’s customers their victims.
Several users of MTN Mobile Money have unfortunately been duped millions and thousands of cedis by these fraudsters over the years. This has forced subscribers to raise concerns over the usage of MTN Mobile Money.
Possibly, you are one of such victims, and you are here because you have many questions which demand answers.
This is exactly what we will offer you in this article: we will provide you with answers to all your MTN fraud questions so that you can consider the various possible roles you can take before becoming the target of Mobile Money fraudsters next time.
We will share with you some tricks and guiles these fraudsters employ to deceive their victims and examine with you certain simple ways you can use to identify a fake MTN mobile money fraud SMS or call, so you can have enough truth (information) to set you free from their manipulations and trickery.
Table of Contents
- What Is Mobile Money?
- Why Is MTN Mobile Money Fraud On The Rise In Ghana?
- How Impactful Is Mobile Money Theft?
- How Do MoMo Subscribers Get Scammed?
- Ways To Avoid Being A Victim of MTN Mobile Money Fraud
- 1. Never Give Your MTN Mobile Money PIN To Anyone
- 2. Make You PIN Hard for People To Guess
- 3. Don’t Give Your Phone To Mobile Money Agents
- 4. Wait for Confirmation
- 5. Count Money In Front of Agent
- 6. Beware of Fraudulent Text Messages and Calls
- 7. Don’t Click On Suspicious Links In Emails
- 8. Report Any Suspicion of A Fraudulent Person/Agent or Transaction Immediately
- Ways To Identify An MTN Mobile Money Fraud SMS or Call
- 1. 024 430 0000 is MTN Ghana’s Official Contact Line
- 2. MTN Ghana Won’t Call You With A Fixed Phone Line (Landline) From Vodafone or Another Network
- 3. MTN Mobile Money SMS Will Appear With A Sender ID – Mobile Money
- 4. Most Fraudsters Speak In Vernacular, e.g. Twi or Very Bad English
- 5. Most of The SMS’ These Fraudsters Send To Their Victims Have Notable Grammar Errors.
- How Mobile Money Fraudsters Get Your User Information Including Phone Number
- What Is MTN Ghana Doing About Fraudulent Issues?
- Is MTN Truly Making Progress?
- Reporting SIM Swap and other Fraudulent Issues
- New Ways Mobile Money Fraudsters Use To Target Mobile Money Users
- To Conclude
What Is Mobile Money?
Mobile money, which has become so popular after it was first introduced in Ghana by MTN in 2009, is an electronic wallet system linked to a mobile phone number. The service allows users to store, send, and receive money through their mobile phones.
The service is operated by three major Mobile Network operators: MTN (MTN Mobile Money), AirtelTigo (AirtelTigo Mobile Money), and Vodafone (Vodafone Cash).
With mobile money, one can send and receive money safely, pay utility bills, pay-TV subscriptions, buy movie tickets, buy airtime, withdraw cash at merchants’ points including ATMs, and pay for goods and services. The Bank of Ghana’s Payment System Statistics on mobile money revealed a constant growth of MoMo services.
Why Is MTN Mobile Money Fraud On The Rise In Ghana?
In Ghana, the number of people deceived by fake mobile money (MoMo) agents is on the increase because of the increasing number of currency transactions – which is so for MTN Mobile Money. This is because there is no charge for transactions up to GHS 100 per day.
The waiver is the effect of a partnership between MTN Mobile Money Limited and the Central Bank of Ghana. The agreement will last until September 30 and is aimed at lowering the price of currency transactions to reduce the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mr. Eli Hini, General Manager of MTN Mobile Money, the transaction volume of people using MoMo for different purposes (including shopping, payment, religion and other social contributions such as tithes, products and services) has been increasing. As the transaction progresses, more and more people deposit money in MoMo wallets and attract the attention of scammers and fraudsters.
How Impactful Is Mobile Money Theft?
Statistics about MoMo theft from the Director-General in charge of the Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr. Gustav Herbert Yankson indicate that in April 2019, mobile money operators recorded 388 money fraud cases in 2016 as against 278 in 2015.
“Various sums of money have been made away by the fraudsters; the majority of these cases have been reported to the police for further investigations and some have been successful as suspects have been tried and convicted of their fraudulent actions,”
ACP Dr. Gustav Herbert Yankson revealed this in 2019 when he was creating awareness about the activities of the fraudsters. He said victims of MoMo fraud had lost monies ranging from GHS 70 to GHS 4,000, describing their experience as unfortunate.
How Do MoMo Subscribers Get Scammed?
Some social media reports indicate that when fraud is about to happen, the fake agent will send a message to warn the MoMo user that there is an error in his or her account, and ask the user to call the number for help.
Similarly, some MoMo subscribers have been duped by following what they call smishing on their accounts. In the smishing process, the scammer attempts to gain access to confidential information (such as MoMo Pin) via SMS.
Other users receive messages requesting a refund of a certain amount of money that was sent to their MoMo account in error. The messages do not come from registered MTN lines. In some cases, Truecaller identifies it as belonging to a fraudster.
#ProtectYourMoMo by Avoiding Refund Scams In a refund scam you will receive an SMS notifying you that there is money in your MoMo which may be an overpayment, or a wrong deposit, or a wrong transfer. You are then asked to send the money to a different number.
Ways To Avoid Being A Victim of MTN Mobile Money Fraud
So far as scammers see an opening to scam subscribers, they will do everything possible to take advantage of them. But then, you can escape being scammed by being a little bit watchful.
Here are a number of ways you can employ to stay safe while using MTN mobile money:
1. Never Give Your MTN Mobile Money PIN To Anyone
It is strongly recommended not to share your PIN (secret number) with anyone, including mobile money agents, MTN staff and your friends. Mobile money agents and MTN employees are not required to request your PIN to conduct any transaction on your behalf. Your PIN is your secret number and has to be considered as such.
2. Make You PIN Hard for People To Guess
Just as you do each and every time you select a password for a new email, you ought to ensure that your PIN is hard to guess. It’s paramount to shun using the year of your birth, the day and month of your birth, or repetitive numbers like 3333, 4444 when choosing your 4 numbers. In addition, avoid using a common array of numbers like 1234 or 2021.
Consider using a PIN that would be hard for people to guesstimate, but easy to recall. Currently, if you have a weak PIN, you can change it by dialing the MTN mobile money shortcode *170#. Follow it by selecting “Wallet” and choosing “Change MM PIN” to set a new PIN.
3. Don’t Give Your Phone To Mobile Money Agents
You should never give your mobile phone to mobile money agents to undertake a transaction on your behalf. Anytime you give your phone to an agent to initiate an operation for you, you expose yourself to being scammed.
4. Wait for Confirmation
Anytime you deposit money at any MTN mobile money dealer shop, make sure you get an approval text before you leave. Take note to ensure that the text received is from Mobile Money. Be very watchful and look out for text messages from clearly suspicious phone numbers. Always authenticate transaction particulars before withdrawing or transferring money.
5. Count Money In Front of Agent
Always make sure you count the money you withdraw right in front of the agent to ensure it is exactly the amount you want to withdraw before you leave the place of transaction.
6. Beware of Fraudulent Text Messages and Calls
MTN Ghana usually sends mobile money text/info through the name “Mobile Money”. However, fraudsters also do send messages disguising themselves as MTN. So don’t trust all the text messages you receive in the name of MTN.
Don’t follow up on suspicious phone numbers concerning your mobile money account. Treat such numbers as scammers and don’t follow instructions they ask you to execute on your mobile phone.
Also, be careful of calls asking you to send MTN mobile money to certain accounts to receive cash prizes or requesting your account details. Whenever you are in doubt, the best people to contact is the MTN customer service number – that is, 100.
7. Don’t Click On Suspicious Links In Emails
Do not click on links in emails or texts that seem suspicious. Also, never send information about your mobile money account through texts or unencrypted emails. Immediately you see such emails, report them to “report suspicious emails to MTN Ghana”
8. Report Any Suspicion of A Fraudulent Person/Agent or Transaction Immediately
Do not wait for a very long time to report any fraudulent activity. Contact MTN Ghana on 100 or visit any of their Customer Service Centre near you to usher in a complaint. Do everything possible to stay safe, and in the words of MTN Ghana, “Don’t be a MUGU.”
Ways To Identify An MTN Mobile Money Fraud SMS or Call
1. 024 430 0000 is MTN Ghana’s Official Contact Line
Anytime you receive a call from a number other than 024 430 0000, and the person calling claims to be calling from MTN Ghana, consider the person a scammer.
For all matters linking to customer queries, promotions and rewards, satisfaction surveys, etc., which are more directed towards customers, MTN Ghana will usually call you with 024 430 0000.
2. MTN Ghana Won’t Call You With A Fixed Phone Line (Landline) From Vodafone or Another Network
You should note that MTN Ghana is a mobile service provider and has no business using a 3rd-party fixed line to contact its customers.
That will never happen under any circumstance. Truly, it doesn’t make sense for MTN to consider calling its customers with the number of a network they are competing with. Never fall for this cheap scam. This is an example of such a fake or fraud number: 0303938413.
3. MTN Mobile Money SMS Will Appear With A Sender ID – Mobile Money
Anytime you do receive an SMS on your phone without the Sender ID as Mobile Money, ignore it for that it is not from MTN Ghana. Usually, these SMS purporting as coming from MTN Ghana will appear as a number (like this number: 0543313167).
Anytime someone calls you to tell you they mistakenly sent you money, but you checked your phone and did not get an SMS from Mobile Money, consider that person as a fraudster. Quickly ignore such persons!
4. Most Fraudsters Speak In Vernacular, e.g. Twi or Very Bad English
Even though there are usually educated or smart fraudsters, many of the reported crimes have come from individuals who purposefully purport to be unschooled and calling from a distant place, usually to win the sympathy of the victim.
5. Most of The SMS’ These Fraudsters Send To Their Victims Have Notable Grammar Errors.
Several of the messages that come from these fraudsters have errors in them. This is one way you can identify these fraudsters. MTN Ghana will never send you messages that contain errors and misspellings.
How Mobile Money Fraudsters Get Your User Information Including Phone Number
Most users and subscribers are baffled by how these scammers get their contact and wallet details. Here is a list of possible ways by which MoMo fraudsters get hold of your contact and wallet details.
Scenario 1: Guesswork
It may sound strange to you comprehending how these fraudsters use guesswork. Don’t be surprised by this. Just consider this example: My MTN phone number is 054x xxx 793.
In order for one to get my number, what he or she needs to do is to drop the last digit of my number and replacing it with either 2, or 4, making it 054x xxx 792/4. This is how easy the method they use to get your phone number. They do this without having to make a request from the network or stealing it from anyone.
All they have to do is constantly play with the guesswork until they get a database of valid numbers to scam the users.
Scenario 2: At a Mobile Money Agent’s Shop
This is not about mobile money agents performing the act themselves. No, it’s not that. It rather involves your details and how you normally give it out to the agents. There are two possibilities that actually happen in this scenario. Let’s look at them.
Usually, when you go to make a deposit or withdraw money at any agent’s shop, you are often required to mention the digits of your phone number to the agent handling your transaction.
Sometimes, these fraudsters position themselves at these agent’s shops to listen to the numbers of subscribers. They go away after they have recorded and saved enough numbers so they can go and perform their dubious act. This is what they do sometimes to fraud people.
The next thing is that, sometimes, the books in which these agents write in your details are thrown away or kept at places in which these fraudsters know and visit. They go to these places and take pictures of your details and perform this act on you. It is so sad but this how they sometimes get your information
Scenario 3: Conversations
You may say, the conversation is not really a big deal, but remember there are loud talkers and eavesdroppers. We have people who are so loud on the phone (while in public) to the extent that you can literally guess what they are conversing about if you’re savvy and ready to listen to them.
At times, when people are conversing, they forget themselves and give out certain private details over the phone; all to the hearing of everyone present and within earshot. These scammers make these individuals their targets, follow them diligently so they can get their details.
When they by chance get their details, they follow up on them until they make them their victims. This is the other chance they take to dupe people.
Now, if you happen to hint about a windfall, while at the same time giving out your MoMo number, chances are that someone may become interested in playing a quick one with you so always be vigilant.
Scenario 4: Sending Money
Have you considered what happens anytime you send money through any of your mobile money wallets?
Normally, before sending the money to the recipient, you will receive a final dialogue screen from the network provider – they will send you something like “Send GHS100 to John Botwe. Reference: 1?” I hope you’ve seen this notification one or more times.
Well, this is one way the fraudsters use to get to know your name. All they need to do is by pretending they are sending you money and once you’re registered on the Mobile Money platform, they get to know your name as it is in MTN’s system.
Scenario 5: Truecaller
Truecaller is an app that mobile phone holders use to identify the numbers and names of people who call them. It helps the user to decide whether to pick or reject a call since he or she will know the details of the person calling. Often, these fraudsters run the numbers of individuals through this app to verify the details of the person using the number.
What Is MTN Ghana Doing About Fraudulent Issues?
MTN Ghana has received a lot of backlash because of how fraudsters treat its customers. Some even say the telecom giant has intentionally decided not to do anything positive about fraudulent issues mainly because they benefit from it. To be fair, these criticism are unfounded and unfair.
As the leading provider of mobile money services to Ghanaians, MTN Ghana is trying to raise its awareness of mobile money fraud through a campaign called #U4Know. The aim is to inform customers to keep their ‘momo’ wallets safe by keeping in mind these four things:
- Never share your PIN with anyone, not even with somebody who says they work for MTN;
- Never discuss the details of your MoMo wallet with somebody who calls your number;
- All MTN customer service calls originate with the same specific phone number; and
- All customers are required to call 100 in case they need help.
This candid advice stimulated by their campaign shows that many Ghanaians are just naive about the dangers of sharing information with strangers who adopt an official manner or pretend to work for MTN.
The #U4Know campaign will engage various stakeholders including chiefs and religious leaders. The aim is to spread the awareness even further, plus giving the company the platform to interact with customers at places where they gather, such as churches, mosques, or lorry parks.
Is MTN Truly Making Progress?
In Ghana, the situation is getting worse by the day with several users questioning the service’s claim to safety and security if it can’t track and root out the scammers employing its service for dubious and fraudulent activities.
Fortunately, MTN has heard the cry and complaints of it users. It has developed and introduced a centralized identification system that enables easy detection and apprehension of fraudsters. This is the new tactic MTN is employing to curb and win the battle.
Additionally, the service has recorded some achievements in terms of tracking and apprehending fraudsters. Notable of this is the recent apprehension of over 40 scammers, carried out in collaboration with the police.
Therefore, in the case of a scam, alerting the company and the police is the fastest way to track and retrieve the money from the fraudster. Trying to reach the perpetrators by call or message will buy them more time to cover the tracks of the scam.
Reporting SIM Swap and other Fraudulent Issues
Not reporting or taking action if you have been a victim of fraud, even unsuccessful ones could help the fraudster gain experience and learn how to be successful next time.
With MTN, you can report fraudulent SIM swap and all other fraudulent issues on your line on the IVR through the following steps;
- Dial 180 on your device and follow the voice prompt.
- Press 5 ‘For Support’
- Press 2 ‘To Report Suspected Fraudulent Activity.
In summary, dial 180, press 5 then press 2 to report suspected fraudulent activities.
Also, you can click here if you are looking for popular MTN Mobile Money Fraud numbers. Together let’s get these fraudsters out of business! Take note of these and don’t fall victim to these cheap scams.
New Ways Mobile Money Fraudsters Use To Target Mobile Money Users
MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) scammers have taken their evil activities a nick higher. They now target MoMo wallets that have been matched with bank accounts. This was spoken of by MTN’s Mobile Money executive, Mr. Godwin Tamakloe in a zoom meeting with Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA).
He opined that these fraudsters often follow the same routine they use to dupe unsuspecting customers of their hard earn cash but this time around, they keep telling victims about settings from the MTN office. They guide these ignorant customers through some steps which at the end generates an ATM token for them. They, therefore, use the token to empty all their money.
However, Mr. Tamakloe assured Ghanaians that despite the rise in strategies being adopted by the criminals, MTN is committed to fighting the menace as they engage the police to fight these fraudsters.
We don’t live on the moon. It may seem a surprise for some, but in the era of technology, you aren’t shielded from situations such as this.
No matter what we do, people would come across our contact and personal details. While certain situations may be attributed to service providers, some cannot, as it’s based on sheer ingenuity on the part of these fraudsters.
MTN Ghana is open to assist in getting these individuals arrested. Don’t hesitate to report any attempt or crime. The best you can do is to be smart enough not to be taken advantage of.