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Identity theft a reality, be on high alert

27 May 2021 at 07:19hrs | Views
IN the past few days, a crime alert message went viral on social media platforms warning of identity theft.

The truth of the matter is, your identity can be stolen in so many different ways. To protect the citizens of Zimbabwe, I shall not focus on how your identity can be stolen because that will be educating "would-be" criminals.

What is important is to demand that your identity is protected by your service providers, be it banks, mobile money service providers, insurance and even government.

They all have the duty of protecting you. I have forwarded this write-up to the Finance ministry, Home Affairs ministry, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, financial service providers, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, mobile money providers, insurance companies, Registrar-General and ICT professionals in Zimbabwe.

The number one crime in Zimbabwe is mobile money scam and the most affected is EcoCash, according to our cyber research.There is now an immediate need to use biometric facial recognition as a way of identifying clients.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Zimbabwe, with the identities of thousands of individuals having been compromised in recent years.

The criminals use the identity theft to scam unsuspecting individuals. Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else's identity to steal money or gain other benefits, leading to an innocent person ending up being arrested. How this is done is easy, the criminal reproduces a plastic national identity (ID), after getting information that a "target" has a huge sum in their mobile money account or is receiving some cash.

Say at 4:25pm just before mobile money shops close, the criminal enters the shop and tells the customer assistant that he/she has lost her phone or it has been stolen and requests for a subscriber identity module (SIM) card replacement.

Once one is issued with a replacement SIM card, the actual SIM card owner is immediately blocked and the criminal will now have full access to one's mobile money account and the owner does not have access to the mobile phone company because it will be closed for business.

The only time that one will get access to a mobile money service provider is at 8am the next day and by then, the money in your mobile wallet would have been wiped out.

There is now a need for mobile money companies to adopt the biometric facial recognition system and have a central database of all mobile money registered clients.

Biometric face recognition technology is used worldwide in fighting crime, preventing fraud, ensuring public safety and improving customer experience across a vast range of locations and industries.

This is now the best technology that can be used to prevent mobile money fraud, especially in Zimbabwe where 96% of all transactions are now being processed electronically.

Biometrics make use of our most unique physical features and behaviours to serve as digital identifiers that computers and softwares can interpret and utilise for identity-related applications.

They can be used to identify someone in a biometric database or to verify the authenticity of a claimed identity.

We are urging Zimbabwe's mobile money service providers to use biometric facial recognition to protect the vulnerable consumer who is now at the mercy of modern-day criminals.

As a citizen of Zimbabwe, remember there are laws (Data Protection Act) that demand that your identity is protected and verified by your service provider.You can also sue your service provider for negligence if fraud or a crime is committed that leads to your arrest.

Source - Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi
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