By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has urged Ugandans to be more vigilant following increased levels of transaction fraud in the country perpetrated by fraudsters commonly referred to as ‘bafere’.
According to UCC’s Acting Head of Public and International Relations, Rebecca Mukite, the bafere’ s latest trick is calling people and claiming to be UCC’ staff seeking to upgrade or verify user’s simcards.
She says, during the engagement, unsuspecting victims are asked to provide information about them including their mobile money pin numbers which the fraudsters use to fraudulently transact money off the victims’ mobile money accounts.
“We would like to categorically emphasize that UCC NEVER calls consumers for any reason. When in doubt, call our tollfree line 0800 222 777.” Mukite clarified.
She added that the fraudsters sometimes call unsuspecting victims claiming to be working for certain telecom companies. These, she says, call victims asking for forms of verification or upgrade with an intent of accessing the unsuspecting victims’ personal information.
Mukite advised the members of public that should they receive any such call, they should hang up immediately so that they do not give the mufere a chance to manipulate them through engagement.
She added that whenever in doubt, they should all always call their telecom service providers or UCC through the provided toll free lines to report for further management.
Mukite also warned the members of public against sharing their pin or entering any verification codes whenever they receive calls from people they do not know.
“Never give out your pin and OTP to anyone for whatever reason. Do NOT and NEVER enter any verification codes. Anyone who calls you on matters pertaining to your simcard verification and or upgrading is a mufere.” Mukite warned.
As part of the plan to curb the vice, Mukite noted that UCC and telecom operators are undertaking massive and continuous public awareness to encourage vigilance and avoid falling prey.
“When you report calls received from bafere, we initiate the investigation of the number. Among other technical undertakings, we look at calling patterns and seek out possible collaboraters,” she said
She noted that so far, there are 17 ongoing cases, 11 of which are at the level of Court hearing and 6 still under investigation.