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5 Effective Ways to Thwart Mobile Fraudsters

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As the global economy continues its lacklustre performance, legitimate and illegitimate businesses alike are under pressure to boost revenues.

“South Africa can expect renewed unauthorised micro-billing attacks on its mobile users as overseas-based fraudsters look to our 90 million plus mobile connections with growing interest,” says Devon Meerholz, Chief Creative & Operations Officer at IMIMobile SA.

A longtime SA mobile industry veteran, Mr Meerholz says the country’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association of SA (WASPA) has worked hard since its incorporation in 2004 to create a local mobile ecosystem where cellular users feel confident transacting with providers of mobile content and applications.

From implementing a world-class Code of Conduct to govern the way WASPA members interact with mobile users to engaging world-leading anti-fraud specialists, SA’s wireless application service provider (WASP) industry is at the forefront of the war on mobile fraud.

“The first line of defence, however, against mobile fraud that incorporates clickjacking and attempts at installing ransomware and malware on users’ mobile phones, should be mobile users themselves,” states Mr Meerholz.

He provides five effective ways for mobile users to prevent fraudsters raiding their mobile accounts with unauthorised billing attempts:

Firstly, to minimise the financial damage caused by unauthorised billing attempts emanating from overseas-based criminal syndicates, SA mobile users should consider switching to prepaid cellular to prevent unexpected postpaid mobile bills at month-end.

Secondly, become aware of what’s happening on your mobile device at all times by switching on app push notifications, signing up for SMS billing notifications from your network operator and checking your messaging inboxes for alerts at least once a day.

Thirdly, if you must link a bank card to your chosen app stores, make sure it’s a credit or debit card with either a very low credit limit or with none at all. You could consider reserving a low-cost, zero credit limit bank account for mobile-based purchases.

Fourthly, when downloading mobile apps from Android or Apple app stores, make sure you carefully read what permissions are required and keep a look out for particularly suspicious permissions that require access to one’s mobile contacts, for example.

Finally, learn how to quickly disable your mobile device’s Internet access in a matter of seconds in the event of it being hijacked by malware or ransomware. Similarly, practice removing your SIM card from the device as a fast way to prevent unauthorised access while you are deciding on a plan of action.

“Ultimately, our best defence against mobile and real-world fraudsters will always be our own common sense,” concludes Mr Meerholz.

IMImobile is a cloud communications software and solutions provider that enables companies to use mobile and digital technologies to improve and automate customer experience and engagement. IMImobile is headquartered in London with offices in Hyderabad, Little Rock, Toronto, Dubai and Johannesburg.