South Africa’s 35-million plus cellphone users can protect themselves from the growing incidence of worldwide mobile fraud by only downloading apps from reputable vendors and being wary of any increase in pop-ups or unusual notifications on their mobile devices.
That’s the word from Mike Laws, MD of local mobile marketing consultancy Imaginatrix, who points out thata mobile fraud rates have almost doubled globally compared to 2017, with e-commerce the hardest hit category.
“New data from Berlin-based mobile fraud prevention firm, Adjust.com, indicates mobile advertising is growing fast, but so is the fraud accompanying it. Malicious apps are designed to harvest user data for nefarious purposes that include outright financial fraud,” says Laws.
Fortunately, South Africa’s mobile content and applications industry is a proactive fighter against app-based mobile fraud. “Our mobile industry is a world leader, well-regulated and simply doesn’t tolerate fly-by-night fraudsters,” he says.
Laws quoted Section 4(11) of South Africa’s WASPA (Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association) Code of Conduct, where it is specifically stated: “[WASPA] members are required to implement an anti-fraud solution on their systems across all networks.”
In addition, the country’s mobile network operators require that firms billing their customers need to implement fraud detection software.
Another handy hint from Laws is that mobile users installing apps on their devices should always carefully check the permissions any app requires. Unreasonable or unusual app permissions like accessing one’s contacts should immediately raise red flags.
“Winning the war against malicious apps requires decisive action by many parties, with mobile users themselves the most important link in the chain,” Laws says.