Vodacom subscribers are advised to closely inspect their monthly cell phone bill to ensure they are not victims of an upgrade scam.
The scam is simple – the criminals upgrade a Vodacom contract customer’s account without their permission and “steal” the new smartphone associated with this upgrade.
The criminals get away with a new high-end smartphone while the unsuspecting victim is left with an upgrade fee and/or much higher monthly fees.
Rapport reported that recent court papers shed light in this scam, with Vodacom admitting that it has a problem with this type of fraud on its network.
Vodacom, however, added that it is doing everything in its power to fight this crime and ensure its clients are not inconvenienced.
While the recent legal battle between Vodacom and a Polokwane businessman shed light on this upgrade scam, this fraud is nothing new.
There are reports of the fraudulent upgrade problem by other Vodacom subscribers stretching back many years.
One subscriber said on Vodacom’s forum that his “contract was fraudulently upgraded” from a Flexi 75 to a uChoose Flexi 200 on 12 February 2017. The upgrade included a new iPhone.
“The above came to attention when I received the debit order on 29 April 2017 for the amount of R600 instead of the usual R75,” he said.
“I did not upgrade my account. I did not give anyone permission to upgrade my account and this has been done fraudulently.”
“The same has happened to me. I have had a new contract taken out under my name,” another Vodacom subscriber said.
“Tried calling the customer care and no luck. I have sent an email to fraud disputes, received a reference number, but no feedback or telephone call at all.”
A Vodacom spokesperson told MyBroadband that this is an “unfortunate case of identity fraud”.
“As a company that cares for the protection of our customers, we urge all Vodacom customers to protect their personal information at all costs,” Vodacom said.
The company added that criminals are working around the clock in search of personal information.
“They are constantly and deliberately looking out for banking details, cellphone numbers and any personal information allows them to conduct crime.”