In this digital age, consumers value convenience. This has seen many Kenyans adopt mobile money as the easier mode of payment rather than walking around with cash. However, just like any other mode of payment, it has its fair share of challenges key among them the privacy of customer data. Supermarkets are the biggest culprits in this case since after you make a payment, the cashier either demands to see the payment text or give out your mobile number loudly. I feel that in both cases, it is an invasion of privacy as you are forced to reveal personal details which can have consequences.
During a supermarket run, a tweep Al Kags managed to get the phone number of a shopper and from it was able to get personal details about her life. Here is his story;
Yesterday, at @naivas_kenya I figured out how easy it is for bad people to get a hold of personal details. Its scary. I actually practically picked someone’s identity and got to know a hell of a lot about them – all within 10 minutes! Let me tell you how…
I was standing next to this lady at @naivas_kenya ion Westlands. She had to give out her number to the cashier… “0722… 000… 000” (not exactly obviously). It was an easy number to remember so I memorised it and typed it into my Truecaller and voila! I know her name & email!
So then I google her. From her Facebook account, I know she went to Precious Blood Kilungu, I know her birthday, that she lives/lived in Ruaka, from her twitter her middle name and that she is in a relationship with “Sam” (not his real name)
From her instagram I gather she loves the @SafaricomPLC Jazz Festival, find out who her closest friends are, and the places she likes to go hang out in the evening and from her Linkedin I have her CV – she is in the hotel industry and I know where she works.
I know she went to Strathmore after Precious Blood, that she is a CPA… All this information, I found while I was standing next to her at the supermarket on my phone(!!!) Now you tell me, if I was a bad person, what could I have done with her information?
I think we need to pay attention to how our private info is passed around in some of these places – @naivas_kenya or @TuskysOfficial if I pay by @SafaricomPLC‘s MPESA I have to tell them my number in full hearing of everyone.
If I need @naivas_kenya or @TuskysOfficial to deliver something to my house, I draw a map to my house, and write my phone number on a piece of paper (and I never see it again) – Based on actual event. when depositing at an MPESA place, I have to say my number out loud (!) – Shida
From this case it is clear that we should endeavor to limit the kind of information that we share on the various online platforms. Also supermarkets should come up with a less intrusive way of confirming payments. This is because should such kind of information fall into the wrong hands you are bound to be in trouble.