What happens to your Safaricom phone number after you are dead?
Social and political activist Boniface Mwangi has written to telecommunication giants, Safaricom PLC, asking them to stop selling phone numbers previously owned by deceased people.
He said that he was shocked on receiving a notification on Telegram that a friend, who had apparently died more than 4 years ago had joined Telegram.
Mr Mwangi says the incident was regarding his best friend by the name James Quest who had died through an accident some years ago.
“Hey, @Safaricom_Care SafaricomPLC l lost my best friend four years ago. Imagine my shock when l received a notification that he has joined Telegram, “he wrote on his Twitter timeline.
He adds that on calling the number, he was surprised when it was received. The receiver allegedly said that he had bought the phone number from Safaricom.
He now asks them to stop selling phone numbers of deceased people to other users.
“Called the number and whoever has is it, said he bought it from Safaricom. Stop selling phone numbers of dead people,” he added.
Safaricom responded to him on the tweet reply as follows;
What Safaricom PLC had to say
“Jambo Boniface, when a Safaricom line is not topped up within a period of 6 months, it will be deleted and resold. The relatives can, however, request for change of ownership and access to MPESA by following the procedure on this line https://safaricom.co.ke/personal/m-pesa/m-pesa-legal/m-pesa-next-of-kin-claim…” they said.
The tweet from Bonface Mwangi and the reply from Safaricom attracted a few more other comments on the specific issue.
For example, a Twitter user by the name McKennedy Kyalo seemed to agree with Mr Mwangi’s call to stop selling phone numbers of dead people.
“While there are infinite permutations for new numbers, why do you have to reuse numbers of deceased people? It is unscrupulous!!!” he wrote.
However, its a reply by someone Kevin Orango that shocked me most. He asked Safaricom to sell him numbers of the dead people for no apparent reasons. He says he just wants to terrify people still alive with calls from those particular phone numbers!
“Hey Safaricom, I know a couple of dead guys. Would you sell me their numbers for no reason other than to terrify some people in the land of the living with calls from hereafter Disclaimer; This tweet is targeted to no dead person in particular,” Orango’s tweet read.