Be aware of Vodacom sim swap scam

THE bank fraud and related SIM swap scam have increased significantly in recent years which has resulted in a number of bank customers falling victim to internet banking fraud.

“For criminals to be successful with internet banking fraud, they require the One Time Password (OTP) that is sent by the bank to the customer’s mobile phone,” said Vodacom’s spokesman and head of media relations, Byron Kennedy. “SIM swaps are usually done when criminals have already stolen the victim’s banking username and password needed to access the victim’s internet banking profile. Usernames and passwords are stolen predominantly by tricking the victim into disclosing personal information through phishing emails.”

How the SIM swap fraud works:

SIM card swap fraud occurs when criminals impersonate the victim and apply to the victim’s Mobile phone Service Provider (MSP) for a new SIM card to be activated using the victim’s personal information. Once in possession of a new activated SIM card, they will receive all the calls and SMS’ notifications sent to the victim’s mobile phone number including in Contact and One Time Password (OTP) messages. The SIM card in the possession of the victim will be deactivated in the process.

“Vodacom takes any type of illegal activity that occurs on its network very seriously and we do our best to prevent it. As such, we have a dedicated Forensic Services team that investigates all cases of fraud. Where our investigation positively identifies the fraudster, the incidence is reported to the South African Police Service,” said Kennedy.

How Vodacom protects its customers:

To protect customers from SIM swap fraud, Vodacom notifies customers via SMS whenever a SIM swap attempt is made. Customers who receive the SMS but have not requested a SIM swap should alert Vodacom about the fraudulent SIM swap request by calling Vodacom’s customer care on 111.

How SIM swap fraud can be prevented:

Vodacom encouraged customers to protect their banking account details and personal information and not provide these to any website unless the site has been verified as legitimate.

Be conscious of your cell phone’s connectivity status. If a customer unexpectedly cannot make or receive calls or messages (SMS). Contact Vodacom immediately and enquire whether a sim swap has been processed on your number.

Never ignore an SMS message alerting you to a pending SIM swap request on your account.

Give instruction to their service provider to deactivate their SIM card where an unauthorised or fraudulent sim swap has taken place on their cellular number.

Lloyd Mackenzie

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