SIM card enabled fraud has increasingly been a problem in Kenya with customers reporting that their SIM cards were swapped and hijacked without their knowledge and their bank accounts drained.

This has led to Kenya’s largest telecommunication company coming up with a solution to curb the vice and ensure that their customers are protected. Safaricom has today announced that 6 Kenyan banks are now using the telecommunication company’s SIM-swap check anti-fraud solution.

The service will enable banks to find out when a customer’s SIM card was last swapped. This will help the bank make a decision on the likelihood of a customer’s transaction being fraudulent and additional steps to be applied. The service will be available to banks through an API.

“The rapid growth of Kenya’s fintech sector has been accompanied by a rapidly evolving threat environment targeting both customers and fintech operators. It is therefore necessary for different players to partner around innovations that protect customers and their funds to safeguard the gains made. At Safaricom, we have developed SIM-Swap-Check and ATM Vicinity Check solutions that we have made available to banks to empower them to reduce fraudulent transactions,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO – Safaricom.

The Safaricom SIM Swap Check service will provide banks with a free monthly quota of checks and a premium tier above for additional checks above the free quota. According to Safaricom, the service was developed following an analysis of fraud reports to tackle social engineering of customers to conduct fraudulent SIM swaps.

In addition to the SIM Swap service, Safaricom is also providing banks with an ATM Vicinity Check solution that ensures an ATM withdrawal can only be conducted if the transacting customer is in the same location as the ATM. The ATM Vicinity Check solution will be offered for free.