Cops, networks fight airtime voucher fraud
Cellphone operators are collaborating with the police commercial crime unit to combat airtime fraud.
Their efforts have been redoubled since the arrest of two Somalians believed to be members of an airtime fraud syndicate.
The suspects were caught printing and packing MTN, Cell C and Vodacom airtime vouchers in an Internet cafe in Sunnyside, Pretoria, last week.
Police confiscated 19000 Cell C, 13880 Vodacom and 12200 MTN vouchers worth an estimated R2,9million. A computer and printer used to design and print the fraudulent airtime vouchers were also seized in the swoop.
Inspector Malose Mashiane of the Sunnyside station said police expected to make more arrests. He said the syndicate had connections in all the cellphone networks' airtime production houses.
He said the syndicate used their connections to obtain the numbers of airtime vouchers. They then used a computer to design and print vouchers with the stolen numbers.
Dot Field of Vodacom said she could not respond to questions lest her responses jeopardised the police investigations.
"Vodacom is working closely with the police regarding this matter," said Field.
MTN's Ntombazane Mhangwane said the company was aware of the scams, but it was too early to speculate on how the fraudsters obtained the serial or PIN numbers.
"Our forensics department is investigating the matter," Mhangwane said.
"We can trace any illegal activities emanating from companies that deal with MTN in producing or selling airtime," she said.