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Beware of new cellphone scam

By Katlego Moeng | 2011-11-18 07:01:28.0

CON ARTISTS are getting more sophisticated in how they swindle victims.

When Elias Mokoane of Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, recently noticed the words "Sim Swap" on his cellphone screen he should immediately have called his service provider

"It was on a Friday evening that I noticed the screen. I was tired and switched my cellphone off and slept. When I woke up and turned on the phone it still had the same message on the screen," Mokoane said. "I also had several missed calls but discovered that it was from strangers."

He called Vodacom.

Luckily for Mokoane all this was as a result of a technical mistake on Vodacom's side and was rectified.

He could have been a victim of a scam doing the rounds - which involves criminals sending authentic-looking SMSes, easily mistakable for the kind a bank would send.

The SMS will indicate a problem on your bank account and it would then assure you that a "consultant" would contact the prospective victim.

When the "consultant" subsequently makes contact, he or she would start confirming all of the victim's details, including banking account numbers, as well as the victim's kind of cellphone.

The fraudsters would then contact the victim's cellphone service provider and perform a SIM swap, which would enable them to receive One Time Pins and Random Verification Numbers from the victim's banking institution, and have access to the victim's bank accounts.

Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman urged customers to contact their call centre should they receive an SMS notifying them of a SIM Swap they did not request.

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