As ICT regulator continues to encourage Kenyans to go re-register their SIM cards so that information can be updated in existing databases, carriers such as Safaricom have since launched a system that will see that customer personal information (ID, passport numbers) are not used to fraudulently register other SIM cards.
The CA says that customers should have this information updated before the month (April) ends. If some customers fail to do so, then the CA has directed that those numbers be suspended for a period of 90 days to give their owners time to re-register them. If the 90-day period elapses without an update, then telcos will release the numbers to the market.
The development is here for obvious reasons. Fraudulent SIM card registrations are not a new thing in Kenya. These numbers are used for a number of illegal activities, and sometimes, it is very challenging to zero down on them. Cases of using such information to access loan facilities have been reported before, and there are many other vices that fraudsters use illegally acquired SIM cards for.
Agents, where customers can buy and register SIM cards, have been the biggest culprit in this area. They register the bulk of SIM cards, and can, in some cases, do so without any kind of monitoring from telcos. Lost ID documents are also used to register SIM cards, not to mention SIM card resellers who blatantly hawk them to any person who can pay for them.
Nowadays, you can easily check if your ID has been used to register another SIM card by dialling *106#. The code is robust because it does the following:
- You can use it to check your numbers (this is where you see all numbers registered using your name/ID)
- You can report unknown numbers associated with your ID
- Cancel a reported number
Ever since it was launched, though, it hasn’t done much in terms of reporting illegally registered numbers and seeing any kind of action in case you report such as case. On my side, I reported a number that is unknown to in September 2021, and the number is still online seven months later.
Safaricom Registration Consent
Safaricom has since partnered with dealer agents and customers through SIM registration alert to stop fraudulent registration of new SIM cards.
And this is how it works:
- Whenever a customer’s National ID number is used to register a new SIM card, he/she will receive an SMS notification from service number 707 asking for consent.
- The customer will be prompted to accept or cancel the registration.
- During the registration, if a customer responds with ‘no’, the new line will not be registered and the matter will be escalated automatically to Safaricom fraud team for investigation.
- If the customer chooses not to respond with either of the options given, the registration will not be completed.
- Registration will only be completed if the customer approves the alert.
- The new service applies to customers registering a second or more lines with Safaricom. If it is a first line the service will not launch.
- Once a customer tries to register a new line, the system will check for the most active number on the network or M-PESA that is registered under the same ID number and send a notification to this number for consent.
I hope all carriers will pick up on this security measure so that it is not only limited to Safaricom.
For now, the only way to delist a number using your documents illegally is via the stated USSD. Another option could be taking a walk to Safaricom Care Centre, and have the number or numbers deleted.
Overall, make sure that you have updated your registration details. Alert your parents, friends and families who have older SIM cards with scant registration details.