MyBroadband recently received a complaint from an MTN customer concerning a fraudulent subscription to MTN’s Fantasy Football content service.
The customer said they were subscribed to the WASP service without any authorisation, and upon discovering the fraudulent subscription, they contacted MTN’s call centre for assistance.
They were initially told that they would not be refunded for the airtime lost to the subscription. Over the course of the week, the customer did not receive any feedback from MTN’s call centre despite escalating the matter to a supervisor.
The customer then proceeded to email MTN’s customer support centre, where another week passed without them being refunded for the fraudulent subscription.
They then contacted MyBroadband regarding the issue, as they were unsuccessful in their efforts to receive a refund from MTN.
Fraudulent WASP subscriptions
MTN has previously admitted that fraudulent subscriptions to WASP services are a major problem, both globally and on its own network.
The mobile operator has implemented a number of features to protect users against these attacks, including adding the ability to block PRS charges on their mobile SIM.
It did state, however, that it is important to strike a balance between protecting customers from these fraudulent subscriptions while still enabling easy access to premium content services.
“We believe a balance needs to be struck between offering customers ease of access to genuine and value-adding content, while still providing the necessary security protocols – hence the many steps MTN has taken to achieve this,” said MTN South Africa chief executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan.
It is also important to note that MTN has four different USSD strings for detecting and managing content service subscriptions – each of which must be checked separately.
MyBroadband has received multiple reports of fraudulent subscriptions to MTN content services over the past few months, and one of our SIMs used in a disappearing airtime test was also fraudulently subscribed.
MyBroadband also reached out to MTN for feedback regarding this customer’s issue.
We asked the mobile operator to confirm that the subscription was fraudulent and asked why its customer support staff were unable to refund the user for the amount deducted due to the subscription.
We also asked how the customer was fraudulently subscribed, as there are a number of attacks that can subscribe customers to WASP services against their will, including click-jacking and MSISDN spoofing.
O’Sullivan told MyBroadband that the customer was subscribed to the service via a click-jacking attack.
The customer was subscribed to MTN’s Fantasy Football service on 18 September and unsubscribed on 25 September, at which time they began to seek a refund for the airtime balance lost.
O’Sullivan said MTN has contacted the customer and issued them with a full refund for the subscription charges incurred.
When asked why its customer support staff were unable to supply the customer with a refund or any information regarding the fraudulent subscription, MTN said it was investigating the issue.
“We are currently conducting an internal investigation, and we will be able to provide a detailed response after receiving the report from concerned parties,” O’Sullivan said.