MTN secures artificial intelligence partner to fight MoMo fraud

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General Manager for MTN Ghana Mobile Money, Eli Hini has said that the company has secured a partner for its artificial intelligence platform to fight mobile money fraud. 

“We have already secured a provider for the artificial intelligence platform and we are currently going through the documentation pending implementation,” he said during a virtual forum with journalists from across the country.

He however stopped short of naming who the AI partner is, saying that further details will be provided later.

It would be recalled that at the recent virtual annual general meeting (AGM) of the telecoms market leader, Eli Hini did announce that MTN was investing some US$2.5 million into artificial intelligence to be able to predict and trace fraudster activities on the mobile money platform.

This is because fraud has become a huge problem particularly on the MTN mobile money platform, largely because it is the most used platform and has the biggest market share of about 70%.

Eli Hini noted that they already have systems that are able to track and locate fraudsters and cause their arrest, adding that so far, intelligence for MTN has led to the arrest of at least 40 fraudsters operating from various parts of the country, and they are each in police custody pending prosecution.

MTN, according to him, is also in the process of building a complete forensic lab for Ghana Police to enhance their ability to deal with MoMo fraud cases in particular.

“We will continue to invest in strategies, systems and processes to ensure that our MoMo platform remains safe and secured – but it would also require our customers to pay attention to the education on MoMo so that the fraudsters would not take advantage of them,” he said.

He explained that the weakest link in the mobile money value chain is the customer, because fraudsters cannot and have never been able to infiltrate the MTN MoMo network, except to target customers and capitalize on the ignorance to defraud them.

Eli Hini urged customers to remember that MTN would never make any official call to them and do any discussion or transaction regarding their MoMo wallet on phone, so such calls should be seen as fraudulent and be report to MTN via the various reporting channels.

The reporting channels are – SMS to short code 1515 or email to mobilemoneystr@mtn.com.gh; or one can report to any MTN Service Center, the Ghana Police or call 100 on MTN and make a report.

Eli Hini also urged customers to pay attention to the many educative materials on MoMo that MTN churns out on their social media platforms and be advised accordingly.

MTN Mobile Money is currently the overwhelming market leader, but Eli Hini said it has not always been so, explaining that for the first five years of its operation, MTN MoMo never made any profits and yet the leadership of the company believed in the prospects and kept investing in it.

“In fact for the first five years we kept making losses but because of the foresight of the leadership at MTN they kept pushing money into it and today we are here,” he said.

Asked if MTN Mobile Money was working towards becoming a fully fledged bank, Eli Hini said that is not yet on the table, adding that currently they are focused on improving cashless transactions and ensuring the the greater majority of Ghanaian adopt electronic transaction as a first choice over cash.

He said MTN and mobile money in general is here to complement banks and not to compete with them, adding that the over 180,000 mobile money merchants are reaching the over 70% of Ghanaians who don’t have bank accounts or do not have banks in their communities with banking services.

“This is complementary to banking and we intend to keep doing more of that to ensure financial inclusion,” he said.