An internal Vodacom investigation has revealed that its agents worked with a crime syndicate, operating from a Johannesburg prison, to perform SIM-swap and Internet banking fraud.
The Rapport stated that the Vodacom investigation came to light after it was mistakenly sent to one its clients, who was a victim of SIM-swap fraud.
The client is claiming R41,000 from Vodacom after criminals stole the amount from her online bank account using SIM-swap fraud.
According to Rapport, the Vodacom investigation showed that the SIM swap was performed from its call centre.
One of its agent’s login details was stolen, which another agent used to log into the system and perform the SIM swap.
The identified agent admitted guilt, and was linked to the crime syndicate.
Vodacom said the perpetrators in the matter have been brought to book and its forensic service team continues to assist the SAPS on all matters relating to fraud.
Crime syndicates have infiltrated operators and banks
The latest report follows news in October that an investigation was launched into a massive crime syndicate which had infiltrated Vodacom.
A document showed that the syndicate recruited Vodacom call centre agents to help with illegal SIM swaps.
At the time, Vodacom confirmed the investigation was in progress.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, we are unable to provide any further information relating to the investigation at this time,” it said in 2016.
“As a result of the investigation, we have already and will continue to proactively enhance security measures and processes to help protect our customers from fraud.”
In April, attorney Johan Victor – who is assisting SIM-swap and online banking fraud victims – said crime syndicates had infiltrated banks and mobile operators in South Africa.
Victor is demanding detailed information from the banks about the fraud which occurred on his clients’ accounts.
He also plans to take legal action against the mobile operators which were involved in the associated SIM-swap fraud.
The planned legal action is partly aimed at exposing details behind the online banking and SIM-swap fraud.
Vodacom fighting SIM-swap fraud
Vodacom stated that it has controls in place to prevent fraudulent SIM swaps and its measures have resulted in declines in SIM-swap fraud.
It is an estimated 0.004% of SIM-swaps which are potentially involved in fraudulent activities, it said.
“We have also introduced a two-hour delay between the deactivation of the old SIM and the activation of the new SIM. This allows the customer time to validate the SIM swap,” said Vodacom.
It said an SMS alert for a SIM swap was sent to the customer referenced by the Rapport.
Vodacom also allows banks to check when last a customer requested a SIM swap on a mobile number before they send an OTP to that number, to prevent possible banking fraud, said Vodacom.
“We constantly review and enhance security measures to prevent fraud.”