In a bid to increase their customer base and grow their market share, telcos such as Airtel and Telkom have taken to the streets to hand out free sim cards.
Safaricom has been the dominant player in the telecommunication market and the new drive by Airtel and Telkom to give out free lines is a well thought out plan. Besides, Kenyans love free things.
While walking in Nairobi, estates and shopping centres all over Kenya, you will bump into young people walking around offering to give you free Airtel and Telkom lines and help you register these lines.
Most people don’t mind getting these free sim cards since Airtel and Telkom have been known to offer very cheap rates for both calls and data bundles.
Tempting as it sounds, people need to be very cautious when deciding to register for these free sim cards.
Now, I’m not here to discourage people from getting Airtel and Telkom lines, that’s not the case.
Mine is to only advise you to be extra cautious when buying these sim cards and I will give you a scenario.
Be Extra Cautious
When you decide to get that free sim card on the streets, you will need to register the line under your name.
Some of the details required to register your sim card include; your full names, your national ID, you date of birth etc, all of which is very sensitive information.
This is how some unscrupulous Airtel and Telkom vendors are taking advantage of this sensitive information shared by the unsuspecting buyers.
They somehow manage to convince you to give them your Safaricom number registered on M-Pesa and a few hours after you have left, they send some money on your M-Pesa.
Thereafter they immediately contact Safaricom pretending that they wish to replace their lost sim card or that they have forgotten their M-Pesa password.
Some of the questions asked by Safaricom include your ID no, your date of birth and your last transaction where they easily quote the amount they just sent on your line.
With these details, Safaricom gives them a new M-Pesa password and within minutes, the crooks use your line to get maximum allowable loans from all mobile phone-based creditors.
There have been numerous similar cases and my advice to people is that if you wish to take advantage of the free Airtel and Telkom sim cards, visit a verified vendor and guard yourself against con men and people.