Mobile subscriptions can be useful in some instances. For example, getting the latest LOTTO numbers delivered to your phone automatically is a good idea for those who play.

Unfortunately some mobile subscriptions are fraudulent and want nothing more than to siphon funds from your airtime balance.

How big is that problem? According to Parisian anti-fraud firm, Evina, big enough to warrant concern.

In Africa, South Africa is the second country most affected by fraud just behind Kenya.

Following data collection and analysis, Evina found that 31 percent of mobile subscription requests in South Africa during July 2020 were fraudulent.

As an aside, these subscriptions are often started without your consent rather than being services you knowingly subscribe to.

So should we block mobile subscription services? No, that’s like saying kitchen knives should be banned because sometimes they are used by criminals.

Rather, Evina’s chief executive officer, David Lofti says that local mobile firms should address the problem head on.

“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, ” says Lofti.

“In the end, it is the customer dealing with the negative impact. If everyone in the supply chain participated in the same good practices, there wouldn’t be an issue. Since that is not the case, I only see one solution to ensure a safe mobile payment ecosystem which protects customers, and that is for the mobile operators to implement proven security solutions that manage the issue directly,” adds the CEO.

Now, we should point out at this stage that South Africa’s mobile network operators do have ways to check what mobile subscriptions you are signed up for. You can find details on how to check with your specific network through USSD codes and network apps for smartphones here.

But wouldn’t it be better to not have to check this manually every so often? We think that mobile networks should be fighting this fraud at a higher level and security firms have solutions that can help to mitigate the risk of fraud. Of course, some attempts will still get through, cybercriminals are extraordinarily clever, but something has to be done to bring that 31 percent figure way down.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]