The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has directed Mobile service Operators to secure their network platforms and protect their customers from fraudulent people asking them to send money via mobile money services.

In a statement, ZICTA corporate communications manager Ngabo Nankonde stated that the Authority had received numerous complaints against incorrectly registered SIM cards which are suspected to be used by swindlers to defraud unsuspecting subscribers.

“The authority has continued to receive numerous complaints from complainants regarding inaccurately and incorrectly registered SIM Cards. These SIM Cards have been identified as a potential conduit to commit various forms of digital crimes, more recently fraudulent SMS messages related to Digital Financial Services. Despite efforts to collaborate closely with Mobile Network Operators with the view of reinforcing security in the sector as well as promoting compliance to Statutory Instrument Number 65 of 2011, the Authority continues to receive complaints related to SIM Registration, Nankonde observed.

She further directed Mobile Network Providers to immediately disconnect any unverified phone numbers deemed to be fraudulently registered.

“In view of the above and recognising the critical role the ICT sector plays across all sectors, the Authority hereby issues the following directives for immediate action: (a) SIM Registrations with missing and/or incorrect mandatory fields must be disconnected immediately; (b) MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) should verify all subscribers with more than 10 SIM cards registered under their name/NRC. Any unverified number or number deemed to be fraudulently registered should be disconnected immediately; ((c) MNOs should submit to the authority a list of all Dealers and Agents who have been involved in fraudulent SIM Cards Registration; (d) to reinforce security of the GSM platform where Mobile Money Operators, MNOs should establish an SMS and voice activity threshold that must be met prior to authorising mobile money withdraw and/or transfer on any Mobile Money Account. This threshold should be a combined total of at least 20 activities (Voice and SMS),” she stated.

And Nakonde urged MNOs to ensure that any mobile money account which does not meet the set threshold should not be permitted to withdraw or transfer monies.

“Mobile Money Account that do not meet the set threshold should not be permitted to withdraw or transfer monies; (f) MNOs should limit the number of bulk SMS messages that can be sent by a subscriber per day, unless a request for bulk SMS sending is formally made. This request should include accurate KYC detail updates of the senders. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, the number of SMSs between any two communicating numbers can be unlimited for that particular day; (g) MNOs should establish a mechanism where subscribers can use short code 101 to verify the number of SIM cards registered under their NRC. This mechanism must be established within 90 days from May 9, 2019,” stated Nankonde.