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Zambian state telecom starts biometrics collection process to prevent SIM fraud

Zambian state telecom starts biometrics collection process to prevent SIM fraud

Government-owned telecommunication service provider Zamtel (Zambia Telecommunications) is collecting facial biometric data from its mobile phone customers to prevent fraud and boost security, writes Lusaka Times.

Last year, South Africa’s Axon Wireless registered the biometric information of millions of Zambians to align with KYC requirements for SIM card registration. The Zambian government also recently started looking into a biometrics-based verification system to ensure welfare payments reach the correct recipients.

Reuben Kamanga, Zamtel Head of Corporate Affairs and Government Relations, has emphasized the importance of verifying SIM cards, following reported growth of online fraud in the region. As a result, Kamanga explains, the telecom is checking customer information all over again as specified in Zicta regulations addressing mobile fraud prevention.

Anyone violating the directive will have their mobile numbers cancelled by March 31, 2020, he said, including customers whose information is inaccurate or incomplete. Affected customers will receive 1GB free data and/or 50 minutes free if they update their information.

“The deadline is March 31 and it will be enforced at midnight,” Kamanga said. “This is therefore to confirm that the deadline stands and all unregistered, unverified and un-validated SIM cards will be switched off. In other words, the holders of those cards will not be able to receive or make calls.”

“While mobile phone telecommunication is one of the most commonly used method of communication among citizens and has greatly revolutionized the way businesses are run, negative elements have also taken advantage of the same means of communication to plan, coordinate, finance and execute their criminal activities with ease,” Kamanga added.

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