Unsolicited Subscription Prompts Puzzle Safaricom Customers

Safaricom staff fired for fraud

Safaricom customers are puzzled by the rise of unsolicited subscription prompts. While this has been happening sporadically since the start of the year, the frequency of the prompts appear to have escalated. Its currently unknown if this is a glitch in the system or bad actors in play.

An example of the prompt is; “Do you want to pay Kshs. 220 to electronet-997998 Account no. Loan processing fee Upto 50000 ksh?Enter M-PESA PIN:”

Subscription prompt from Electronet

Different Safaricom customers are getting prompts to pay different amounts for a subscription.

The prompt message asking you to subscribe to a service automatically pops up when using your phone. This is when one is required to pay for the unknown service via M-Pesa.

M-Pesa, Airtime Balance Use

Unfortunately, for unsuspecting users they can unknowingly register for an unknown service and end up using up their M-pesa funds. Further, users have observed that the prompts may appear when one is paying a bill and you can mistakenly pay to the wrong till number.

Some of the subscription prompts use customer airtime balance rather than M-pesa payment. This often takes place at night. Hence, a number of customers wake up to messages confirming subscription to an unknown service and part of their airtime balance used up.

Subscription confirmation Message
Confirmation Message from User who Unknowingly subscribed.

What concerns Kenyans is how the people initiating the prompts got access to their phone numbers. Could it be simply randomly generating numbers or specifically targeting individuals..

Cybercrimes are a danger to digital natives in Kenya. Last year, about 641 GB of user data was stolen from Naivas Supermarket. This led to a fine from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).

Safaricom Subscription Check

For now, users can dial *100*5*1# to check for all premium services they have subscribed to willingly or unwillingly.

User finds a subscription done at night unknown to them.

Ensure you unsubscribe to all the services you do not recognise.