Stalker alert! Be careful when you give your phone number at the till. - Al Kags
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Stalker alert! Be careful when you give your phone number at the till.

Yesterday, at Naivas Supermarket I figured out how easy it is for bad people to get a hold of personal details. Its scary. I actually practically picked someone’s identity and got to know a hell of a lot about them – all within 10 minutes! Let me tell you how…

I was standing next to this lady at Naivas Supermarket in Westlands. She had to give out her number to the cashier… “0722… 000… 000” (not exactly obviously). It was an easy number to remember so I memorised it and typed it into my Truecaller and voila! I know her name & email!

So then I google her. From her Facebook account, I know she went to Precious Blood Kilungu, I know her birthday, that she lives/lived in Ruaka, from her twitter her middle name and that she is in a relationship with “Sam” (not his real name)

From her instagram I gather she loves the Safaricom PLC Jazz Festival, find out who her closest friends are, and the places she likes to go hang out in the evening and from her Linkedin I have her CV – she is in the hotel industry and I know where she works.

I know she went to Strathmore after Precious Blood, that she is a CPA… All this information, I found while I was standing next to her at the supermarket on my phone(!!!) Now you tell me, if I was a bad person, what could I have done with her information?

I think we need to pay attention to how our private info is passed around in some of these places – Naivas Supermarket or Tuskys Supermarkets if I pay by Safaricom PLC MPESA I have to tell them my number in full hearing of everyone.

If I need Naivas Supermarket or Tuskys Supermarkets to deliver something to my house, I draw a map to my house, and write my phone number on a piece of paper (and I never see it again) – Based on actual event. when depositing at an MPESA place, I have to say my number out loud (!) – Shida!

I don’t know what the solutions are but I tag Safaricom PLC, Naivas Supermarket and Tuskys Supermarkets and ask that AT LEAST they think about it aggressively. Meanwhile, my Lipa na MPESA habits are going to be thoroughly reviewed.

how scary is this for you?



  • Pinky
    Posted at 16:27h, 26 June

    I have never looked at it this way but on bright tunnel I am surely rethinking

  • Stanley
    Posted at 17:42h, 26 June

    first of let me admit you are a super human for crunching all that info within the limited time.
    As you admit the solution is not as straight forward but with my pos I have manage to display the transaction by name and all you need to ask is the customer name and the payment will be easily completed without divulging much private info.
    As a professional my advice would be safaricom to return the sender national Id in their confirmation message which could be used to verify the transaction and would be more secure and confidential.