The Mobile Money Association of Ghana (MMAG), a group of Merchants, on Thursday cautioned its members against the activities of hardened fraudsters in the wake of recent spike in criminal activities.
Mobile Money fraudulent activities have been an issue of concern to both customers and merchants alike, which has heightened fears in the operations, Mr. Evans Otumfour, Spokesperson of MMAG told the Ghana News Agency in an interview at Tema.
Mr Otumfour said some unidentified persons have, in recent times, targeted Mobile Money merchants defrauding them of various sums of money through dubious means.
He therefore tasked merchants to desist from giving out their account details to any individuals; “Some of the agents facilitate the activities of the fraudsters, they entertain them, and ignorantly give out merchant numbers to customers for transaction without adequate knowledge of the one they are dealing with”.
He advised that, “Before you take that risk of giving your wallet number out, your relationship should be more than just a business relationship with the customer. You must know the person's house, have access to some particulars of the person such as Identity Cards to authenticate and vouch for them in the event of a mishap”.
Addressing the issue of third party withdrawals, Mr. Otumfuor warned that merchants should desist from such transactions as the customer initiating those transactions might be under attack or compulsion and someone may be impersonating the account holder.
On the issue of physical attacks, Mr. Otumfuor noted that attacks on the vendors were rampant and it was worrying. “The attack is upsetting, just recently in the Eastern Region, Akwedu, a vendor was robbed and shot dead”.
He explained that, “It is disheartening when you are robbed of your toil or a loan facility you took to run your business, but your life is more important than the money, for this reason it is very important to be always on the watch out at all times”.
He suggested that all Mobile Money Merchants operating in open spaces such as “table top” should try as much as possible to get shops to secure their lives and their businesses.
“Get access to security personnel so you could reach them as early as possible when you are under any attack,” he said.
Speaking with a Merchant, Madam Priscilla Ansong, also stated that they now live in fear because of the recent attacks on Mobile Money operators and this had affected their operations.
“I cannot operate into the night because I feel scared and insecure, I have to close early, meanwhile business doesn't flow during the day so I have to wait till the night to at least get the commission that I need,” Madam Ansong said.
And she advised all merchants to be vigilant and operate with caution since their operations were likened to bank tellers.
Madam Ansong urged the Merchants to always insist on taking the monies from customers first and count them before initiating transactions to avoid being defrauded.