South Africa’s mobile fraud problem – fleecing millions from accounts

Paris-based anti-fraud firm Evina has determined that one out of every three mobile subscription attempts in South Africa is fraudulent.

Mobile users in South Africa are very often subscribed to mobile services without their consent, the company said.

After Kenya, South Africa is the African country most affected by fraud that daily fleeces millions from the mobile accounts of cellular users around the globe.

“As Africa’s most advanced economy, it is particularly tragic that South African mobile users are falling victim to subscription frauds that are well managed in many other countries,” said David Lotfi, chief executive officer of Evina.

This when we are all under significant financial pressure following the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fraud is not treated seriously enough by the various mobile payment actors and this can be seen in the fact that 31% of mobile subscription requests in South Africa in July were fraudulent, the anti fraud firm said.

This is deeply concerning and the solution is not to block mobile value-added subscriptions by default but to manage the problem with better tools and expertise, it said.

Evina’s research has determined that South Africans are mostly at risk from a very basic fraudulent mobile activity, clickjacking.

“Clickjacking is a type of mobile-based fraud that is more than five years old and could be blocked very quickly if local market players took this threat seriously.” Lotfi said.

To a lesser extent, South African mobile users are also targets of a whole range of nefarious applications commonly available for app store download and these include everything from flashlight to wallpaper, pedometer, file manager and video maker apps, Evina said.

It said that South Africa needs to act now if it wants to insure the future of the entire mobile content and applications market.

“Fraudsters are everywhere but they are particularly interested in South Africa,” said Lotfi.

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