Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

Safaricom falls victim to $4M SIM card fraud

Article Image
According to Kenya's Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Safaricom has been a victim of a fraud scheme worth over 500 million Kenyan shillings (US$4 million).

In a statement, the DCI said it has arrested eight suspects who have been accused of using fraudulently generated SIM card numbers to apply for loans from the telco's Fuliza service.

Investigations began after the DCI's Banking Fraud Investigations Unit (BFIU) received a report from Fuliza managers of an unusual spike in outstanding mobile money loans in August 2022.

The investigation revealed that a suspect had gained access to Kenya's National Registration Database, registered many SIM cards, and sold them to his accomplices, who created fake identities.

The suspects would then apply for loans through M-Pesa overdraft service, Fuliza, and transfer the money from the mobile phones to various bank accounts and mobile banking platforms and then switch off the SIM cards.

Fuliza works like an overdraft service and allows customers to access funds even when their M-Pesa wallet is empty for services such as BuyGoods and PayBills.

Loan liabilities

"Over 123,000 new mobile phone numbers opted into Fuliza and took up loans in January 2022. Thereafter, the SIM cards were either fraudulently vacated or switched off and efforts to reach the customers turned futile," the DCI said in a statement.

The investigation unit added that it also discovered that some of the lines used were registered as Safaricom agents, where the borrowed funds were deposited into personal bank accounts under the guise of M-Pesa float.

Kenyan telco Safaricom has fallen victim to SIM card fraud.  (Source: created by freepik -
Kenyan telco Safaricom has fallen victim to SIM card fraud.
(Source: created by freepik -

The suspects would then allegedly start by borrowing money, and repay it, just to improve their credit scores until the SIM cards reached their limits. They would then borrow one last time before throwing the SIM cards away.

"During the raid, the detectives seized 14 mobicom phones used for registering M-Pesa user SIM cards, six laptops, more than 40 mobile phones, seven routers, several Safaricom lines, over 1,000 Safaricom subscriber registration forms, over 200 ATM cards from all major banks, car contracts, and other pieces of evidence," the DCI added.

Safaricom did not respond to multiple requests for comment at the time of publication.

Related posts:

*Top image Source: WorldRemit Comms on Flickr via CC 2.0.

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Africa can leverage GenAI for economic growth – Microsoft

A whitepaper on generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) and the future of work has found that the African continent, with its young population, can leverage AI to drive economic growth.

Registration opens for Africa Tech Festival 2024

Registration has opened for the 2024 edition of Africa Tech Festival, the continent's leading platform for technology innovators, specialists and thought leaders.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


How e-mobility could transform Africa's transport sector

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook delves into Africa's e-mobility sector and unpacks the challenges faced locally and the benefits the move to electric vehicles could bring to urban transport systems.


Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002