The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has vowed to crack whip of all new forms of fraud that have emerged during the Covid 19 lockdown in Uganda.
According to UCC officials, because of the restrictions that have been put on people’s movements, some dubious individuals are taking advantage of the situation to defraud people of their money from their mobile money accounts.
“We have received reports of fraudsters calling individuals and telling them that their sim card lines are not registered and they offer to help you register from a computer. Once you fall in their trap and accept to register, they will take you through a complicated process and you will not realise when your money on your phone has been taken,” Ibrahim Bbosa, UCC’s Spokesperson said in an interview .
He added that in such instances where the fraud is Customer driven where the customer unknowingly sends money on her/his own to the conmen, UCC is largely focusing on creating awareness for customers.
“When the fraud is technology driven where a customer losses money due to a technological fail from the telecom operator, UCC can easily hold the operator responsible. however, if it’s the carelessness of the customer, we can only encourage awareness creation. We have sent a notice to all telecommunication companies to sensitize their clients on different communication mediums and in different languages about this new kind of fraud. We have also continuously encouraged Ugandans to always be alert, and crosscheck any information with their service providers or UCC before acting upon it,” Ibrahim said
He added, “If we are alert, these fraudsters would not be successful because first of all, no telecom operator can switch off your phone without going through the proper procedure especially at a time like this when we are all trying to survive the pandemic. Please ignore all such calls and do not give your mobile money pin to any person for whatever reason or send any money to any person without first clarifying with the operator or UCC. Our communications lines are all open to help you during this lockdown time,”.
According to Bbosa, the Commission also has an Interagency Fraud Committee with membership from Telecom Operators and Security Agencies that specifically deals with mobile phone fraud.
“This committee is currently working out a way to deal with mobile phone numbers that concurrently call people and attempt to defraud them,”
Currently, if that number calls you but you do not fall for the fraud do not lose Money, it is hard to prosecute the owner of the number because there is no crime committed at the Money, however the committee is finding a way through which numbers that are reported repeatedly for attempted fraud can be dealt with as a preventative measure against future frauds,” he said.
UCC also recently acquired a prosecution licence and is able to individually pursue electronic/ Telecom related cases in the utility court.
“This has encouraged more people to report cases directly to the Commission/regulator because we can easily follow up such cases and ensure they are solved within a short period of time,” he said