Scams on Mobile Lending Apps: A Perspective from Kenya
Contributed by Competition Authority of Kenya
Mobile lending apps let consumers quickly compare loan interest rates and borrow money. But they can also be a platform for fraudulent activity. Scammers may trick you into thinking they are a legitimate lending company, and lure you into providing your personal information. The scammer then uses your information to borrow money from a mobile lending app and keeps the money for themselves. Some scammers may also pretend to be a lender, tell you to pay upfront fees and then fail to give you a loan. Authorities in Kenya, like the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), have noticed an increase in scams like this as have other agencies around the world.
Scams on mobile lending apps happen in many ways. Here are some examples:
- A scammer sends a text message or email, or calls and asks for your personal information. They pretend to be a representative of the mobile app or financial institution.
- Scammers trick you into downloading fraudulent apps and use them to steal your personal data. They steal information like your telephone number, PIN, ID number and date of birth. They may use that information to duplicate your sim card and intercept notifications and one-time passwords to take over your account.
- When you apply for a loan, the scammer, who is pretending to be a lender, says you must pay a registration fee before you get the loan. Later, the scammer says you do not qualify for a loan and you don’t get the registration fee back.
Here’s what you can do to avoid these scams:
- Read reviews before you download an app. Learn about other consumer’s experiences by reading through reviews online or on an official app store. Look to see if consumers have written negative reviews.
- Only download apps from official app stores.
- If you get a text or email asking for your information, don’t reply or click on a link. If you think the request could be legitimate, contact the company using a website or phone number you know is real. Don’t use the information in the text message.
- Use strong passwords to protect your online accounts.
If you believe you have encountered this kind of scam, report it to: