Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has detained an unknown number of suspects including MTN agents in connection with an ongoing fraudulent scheme that has seen some of MTN Rwanda subscribers being swindled huge sums of money and their privacy invaded.
Sources told Taarifa that the suspects have been swapping Sim Cards of their targets. Once the swap is conducted, they insert the card in their phones and proceed with criminal activities such as logging in different apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and others.
They do not only have access to various private information, they also begin sending messages to the victim’s contacts soliciting money.
Taarifa can confirm that some of the victims include ambassadors and security officers whose names can’t be mentioned to protect their privacy. The suspects would meticulously choose certain contacts and solicit money in form of emergency help to a desperate family member.
Apparently the to be beneficiary happens to be the suspect. The scheme ran so fast and at a grand scope that both MTN and RIB have not figured to what extent the crime has spread or the total number of victims.
RIB Spokesperson could not give details too, saying, “the case is under investigation. I can’t say much, it might compromise investigation.”
The security oversight has resulted into MTN Rwanda issuing a public notice that a swap services from now onwards will only be done at an MTN Service center.
Initially, MTN agents were allowed to do a swap for subscribers. But now it has turned out that they can abuse the security authority to conduct a sim swap.
Once someone has another person’s sim card, they can use it to change MoMo passwords and access the victim’s MoMo account, social media accounts and also use the number to conduct criminal activities of their choice.
MTN officials told Taarifa that they are looking into a matter of agents acting outside of their mandate. “We are investigating the issue and will issue a statement once we have more details,” a senior official said.
Meanwhile, MTN Rwanda, and several government institutions have been engaging in discussions aimed at responding to this incident and drawing mechanisms to curb the crime.