Beware of scams using cellphones

Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: 123RF

It goes without saying that technology has brought a lot of convenience to people's lives. Cellphones for example have become an integral part of our lives as they help us to connect with our loved ones and also transact in our bank accounts.

While this is commendable as it simplifies lives, let's also be mindful of the dangers this technology comes with. On top of these are scams. Criminals have embraced cellphone technology as it has afforded them an opportunity to pounce on unsuspecting victims through scams.

These days, if you have lost your SIM card, you can have your number reinstated by your network service provider if you satisfy certain requirements, which are questions about the very same number. On this note, a new crime has emerged where impostors call users and pretend to be agents of their network service providers, telling them that someone wants to hack their numbers but they can prevent that if the users share certain security details with them.

The unsuspecting victims then openly share their details and sometimes, bank account PINs and are told to switch off their phones. After obtaining this valuable information, the fraudsters contact service providers and tell them that they would like to do a SIM-swap, thus using the security details obtained from the victims to answer security questions.

When they have succeeded, they then have access to the users' numbers and perform fraudulent transactions, which may include transferring money from bank accounts. It is only when this has happened that the victims approach service providers to enquire, but it is already unfortunately too late.

I therefore urge cellphone users to be vigilant and never give their personal details to anyone on the phone. Network service providers do not contact people and ask for their personal and security details, beware.

On the other hand, I challenge Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C to constantly run awareness campaigns and educate the public about SIM card fraud.

We all have the responsibility to help end this scourge and save people their hard-earned money.

Malphia Honwane, Gottenburg, eManyeleti

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