South African telecommunications company Telkom has warned that fraudsters are using the company’s name in order to solicit payment for an “erroneously deposited” amount of money.
“They deposit a stolen or counterfeit cheque into a customer’s account and then on a false Telkom letterhead, inform the customer that Telkom had erroneously deposited the cheque into the customer’s account as reimbursement for overpayment collected on their telephone account. This letter is usually delivered to the customer by hand or via email,” says Thokozani Mvelase, Telkom Group Executive for Enterprise Risk Management.
He added that the customer is then requested to transfer the amount into a bank account that is purported to be under Telkom’s name.
“This transaction usually happens before the cheque is cleared by the bank. As such, the customer’s account would be fraudulently debited with the cheque amount while the initial cheque deposit is declined by the bank. The fraudsters would, in the interim, have withdrawn the cash from the “Telkom” account thus leaving the customer out of pocket for the value of the initial cheque deposit amount.”
Telkom customers are urged to be on the alert and to do the following should they receive a “Telkom” / unknown cheque deposit in their bank accounts:
* Phone the nearest Telkom Customer Service Branch and confirm whether there was indeed a cheque issued in lieu of an overpayment,
* Ask for a show of a Telkom ID card, from a person delivering the letter if it is delivered in person. If one is shown, please record card details,
* Attempt to record the type, make and registration number of the vehicle that the person delivering the letter arrives in;
* Inform Telkom’s hotline at 0800 124 000.
“It is important that customers remember that Telkom passes credits on telephone accounts if the need arises and does not refund through deposits into customers’ bank accounts,” concluded Mvelase.