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African networks warned of increase in internal fraud

Global economic downturn blamed as employees come under financial pressure

Mobile networks in Africa have been warned of the threat of an increase in internal fraud, with pressure from the global economic downturn to blame, according to the head of Africa’s anti-fraud association for the mobile industry.

GSM Africa Fraud Forum chair Ade Banjoko said: “In the current economic climate, employees are increasingly tempted to commit internal fraud to maintain their standard of living, or they are being targeted by outsiders to help bypass internal controls.

“Prevention of information theft such as subscriber information, call records and insider information is a particular area that should be managed carefully, through vetting of staff, monitoring and auditing of staff activities and proper handling of internal fraud once it is uncovered."

The spectre of staff stealing from their employers was one of the topics raised at a recent industry event to increase awareness of some of the problems facing mobile network operators in Africa.

Banjoko told CommsMEA that although it is hard to put a figure on the losses incurred by operators as a result of fraud it is likely to be “well over 30% of their profits”.

“It’s very, very high, as most operators are yet to purchase the required systems to help monitor subscribers on a daily basis,” he said.

More than 35 fraud and security managers from mobile networks across Africa met at the GSM Association Africa Fraud Forum in Kenya at the end of March to exchange information and intelligence on fraud management topics.

As well as highlighting the potential risks from internal fraud, the conference sought to give operators help in developing a prevention strategy and guidance on purchasing and implementing management systems.

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