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Man Reveals How He Lost KSh 2.6 Million to Hackers in Sim Card Swap Fraud

A Kenyan man has disclosed how he lost more than KSh 2.6 million after fraudsters hacked into his accounts and wiped them clean. 

Farah Bashir was on a two-week assignment in Johannesburg, South Africa when the money was withdrawn from his accounts. 

He said, according to a story carried in Nation, the funds which were stored in four different Absa Bank accounts were withdrawn in several transactions between February 7 and February 9. 

Bashir said just two days after landing in South Africa, he received calls from people back at home informing him that some people were looking for him.

Apparently, the hackers had accessed his contacts and they couldn’t stop calling those close to him. 

The 58-year-old lab scientist ignored but when it reached 5:43 pm on February 7, he was hit by a shockers. 

He got a text message from Safaricom informing him that the company had received a SimSwap request which he ignored until he received 10 more similar messages. 

Bashir then reached out to Safaricom via Twitter bit he was advised to ignore the messages if he is not the one who initiated the request, he complied. 

Later, at 11:31 pm, he realized that he could not access M-PESA services when he tried to buy airtime to make a call. 

He immediately contacted Safaricom where he was attended to by an agent who asked for his ID details and phone numbers among other personal information. 

As he waited for help from the telecommunications company, he decided to check his bank balance but when he tried to access his account via the Absa app, the system rejected his fingerprints. 

At 11:51 pm, he managed to access his account via the internet using his laptop and shock to him, KSh 150,000 had been withdrawn from the account that held KSh 335,000. 

As he wondered what could have transpired, a further KSh 150,000 was withdrawn moments before messaging Absa and changing his password.

However, that did not help and the hackers withdrew the remaining KSh 34,000. 

Absa Bank Headquarters in Nairobi PHOTO/COURTESY

The hackers also accessed his dollar account which had US$17,451 a few minutes after midnight. 

The fraudsters withdrew US$936 then US$4,680, US$3,650, US$4,680, US$936, US$1,872, US$561, US$121, US$9.36 and US$4.68. 

US$0.12 was left in the account.

The funds were wired to a Pesa Link account and later withdrawn. 

As if that was not enough, the hackers accessed his Sterling Pound account and withdrew UK£225. 

They also wiped clean his credit card that had KSh 231,000 leaving Bashir with no money. 

He contacted a friend at Safaricom who managed to block his sim card but it was too late since the damage was already done. 

READ ALSO: How to replace Safaricom SIM Card by yourself without visiting Safaricom shop

The bank admitted to receiving Bashir’s complaints, adding that the funds were transferred via mobile banking to two other banks and M-PESA mobile wallets. 

“We managed to secure only Sh500,000.00 and credited the amount to your account on March 7. The rest of the funds unfortunately were already utilised,” the bank stated. 

The bank added that they had reported the incident to the Banking Fraud Investigations Department for further investigations.

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