One of our clients was recently a victim of a scam that has been around for a while but is not very heard of. This specific case can be seen in The Rapport (19 February 2012) on page 8 “Vrou verloor duisende in skelm streek met selfoon”. They call it the Sim Swap Scam. Now how this scam works is a person gets a phone call from a “service provider” (in this case Vodacom) telling the person that there is a problem with their phone and they must switch it off to rectify this problem. They say that they will call you back in 2 hours and the problem is then sorted out but during that time they perform a sim swap. They then log into your bank account (in this case Absa) where they fraudulently obtained your banking details, pins and passwords. They transfer all your money out of your account using the OTP and RVN numbers that is sent to your sim card that is undergoing a “sim swap”. So by the time your phone is switched back on your bank accounts is empty. In our client’s case they also used her cell phone account to send almost 3000 sms’s from her sim card while the “sim swap” took place. These fraudsters know exactly what they are doing and perform this scam within a couple of hours. In our clients case specifically, a person from Vodacom called named “Jacob”, telling her that Vodacom accidently gave her cell phone number to someone else, and she must switch off her phone for 3 hours so that they can rectify the problem. When she finally switched on her phone she could not access her sim card and the pin was rejected.
In our clients case these fraudsters managed to steal over R65 000. After she reported this to Absa they said that she was a victim of fraudulent activity and they would investigate the matter. They came back to her stating that they can not be held responsible because she did not keep her pins and passwords safe. They rejected her claim accepting NO responsibility. Another interesting fact is that they detected fraudulent activity on her account previously but did not notify her at all and only told her this when she handed in her claim.
Absa did not offer any assistance whatsoever to return the money. Our client went to Absa to report the incident, they said that they require a police case number, so she went and got a number and handed it in at Absa. After two weeks they only replied on our client’s claim rejecting it due to fraudulent activity on her account. The strange thing is that there are no warning signs on Absa’s website about sim swap scams. All the other banks have warning signs and notices on their websites warning the public specifically about SIM SWAP SCAMS. These scams are being used since 2007 and Absa implemented no new security measures to protect their client’s money. Absa’s internet banking also allows a person to express clear money to a NEW beneficiary and also states that Absa will not be able to reverse that transaction when cleared. So how easy do they want to make it for these fraudsters??? Absa blames their clients for not keeping there pins and passwords safe without providing any proof that the client did indeed give out her details to the fraudsters. Absa do not do anything to implement tougher security measures. The funny thing is that Absa promises the best security measures above all the banks, but comparing to other banks like FNB or RMB, Absa’s security measures doesn’t even compare. With RMB an extension of FNB you have to make at least 3 payments on different dates to a new beneficiary before you can do an express clear transaction. You are also not allowed to do an express clear from an unknown IP address, and if you do you are immediately notified of such activity.
When our client confronted Vodacom for allowing the sim swap they said that it was authorized and that they can see who authorized it but will not be able to give her that information. We contacted them to find out what is being done to assist our client and that she is not happy with their service, Derick the person we were speaking to said and I quote “Do you know how many clients Vodacom has?”.To do a sim swap at Vodacom is so easy that fraudsters can do it from the comfort of their own home. They only need the clients ID number and cell phone number and a new sim card. They only call Vodacom and give this information and answers security questions (ex: do you pay using a debit order or manually?) and then Vodacom authorizes the sim swap. So how can we feel safe to “invest” our money at Absa or to open a contract at Vodacom? Looking at these two institutions it is clear that their service is more about quantity and not about quality anymore. So you are just another number to them and they do not really care about sufficient service. Please give me your comments and inform me if this has happened to you before!!!! How many people still have to suffer because of negligence from these “top” institutions????? All comments and statements are welcome!!!!