Vodacom has noted that SIM swap fraud attempts are on the rise in South Africa.
The group says that fraudsters who engage in SIM swap fraud are posing as cellphone company representatives in an attempt to fool customers who end up being victims of internet banking fraud.
SIM swap fraud is a technique used by criminals to defraud unsuspecting internet banking users. Once they have acquired the victim’s banking details and other personal information through phishing scams, the fraudsters then call the network operator posing as the customer and requests a SIM swap. This, according to Vodacom, will cancel the customer’s SIM connection and the fraudsters will have access to the customer’s mobile line. This then enables the criminal to receive the customer’s one time internet banking password allowing them to perform fraudulent internet banking transactions.
In order to protect customers from SIM swap fraud, Vodacom says it notifies customers via SMS whenever a SIM swap attempt is made.
The mobile operator says that fraudsters have resorted to calling customers to try to either convince them to switch off their phones for an extended period of time or try and convince them to ignore the SMS from the network operator.
“We’ll never call our customers and ask them to switch off their cellphones unless they have requested assistance with a handset related issue that requires their cellphones to be switched off. “So if they’ve not logged a fault with us, they should be suspicious of any requests to switch off their cellphone,” said Johan Van Graan, chief risk officer at Vodacom.
“If a customer receives an SMS notification indicating that they have requested a SIM swap, they should ignore any further communication and immediately contact Vodacom and we’ll take the necessary steps to protect them,” he added.