Safaricom mulls finger biometrics to stem fraud


A customer performing a transaction at an M-Pesa Shop. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM is exploring the use of fingerprint identification for key services such as replacement of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to stem fraud that dogs the telecommunications sector.

Chief executive Bob Collymore said incidents such as the recent SIM swap fraud that led to the arrest of 22 suspects, including some Safaricom staff, calls for “more technical solutions.”

“We vet people quite carefully. It is only that some come in clean then become corrupted,” he said in his first session with the press after a nine-month medical leave.

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“We are looking at introducing biometrics for SIM swaps. Meanwhile, if you want to do SIM swaps and the line is active, we will send a message with a request and you will have to confirm the request for the swap,” he added.

Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom, Stephen Chege, said the firm wants to elongate the identification process required for services such as SIM swaps to lock out fraudsters.

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“If we bring in biometrics and someone tries social engineering, at some point they will be required to put in details like a thumb print to prove if that is a genuine customer authorizing SIM swap,” said Mr Chege, adding that the move could solve the problem of fraudsters posing as Safaricom staff to extract vital information from customers.

He told the Business Daily that the firm is in the process of completing the framework that will see customers register more personal details to secure their identity.

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