MTN using fingerprints to stop contract fraud

MTN plans to roll out new measures to combat fraudulent contract applications that are taken out via online and telesales channels.

MTN South Africa Executive for Corporate Affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan said that identity theft is a problem for mobile operators.

“Subscription fraud as a result of identity theft is one of the most common types of fraud found across all credit offering outlets and retail sectors – and impacts MTN as well as other network operators,” O’Sullivan said.

Modus operandi

Cape Talk recently reported about a case of identity theft involving a Johannesburg resident and an MTN contract fraudulently taken out in his name.

The victim said he had never held any account from MTN. However, his information had been used to take out an MTN contract, which led to his bank account being debited.

When asked about this problem, MTN acknowledged that a person had used falsified RICA documentation to take out the contract.

Identity thieves illegitimately source the ID numbers, bank account details, and other personal information of unsuspecting victims and impersonate them to complete contract applications.

Biometric authentication

To combat this type of fraud, MTN introduced biometric authentication in its stores in March 2018.

This technology uses a fingerprint verification tool to confirm the identity of customers.

Their prints will be validated against the Home Affairs database to identify that the correct person is being served.

Additionally, the operator plans to roll out new mobile and online tools to limit instances of fraud that occur outside of stores.

“These solutions are currently in testing and will enable us to validate their identity and verify the RICA documents upon delivery of orders that have been placed on online and telesales channels,” O’Sullivan said.

For purchases of devices or products ordered via these channels, customers will now have to confirm their identity with a handheld fingerprint device that will be linked to the Home Affairs database.

If the records do not match, the parcel will be returned.

MTN said it plans to introduce these new solutions by the end of 2019.

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MTN using fingerprints to stop contract fraud