Vodacom advises customers to be aware of fraudsters who employ smishing techniques to solicit personal or other confidential information through text messages.
‘Smishing’ or SMS phishing is a technique used by fraudsters to defraud unsuspecting victims who either end up compromising their banking details or personal information.
Portia Maurice, Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs at Vodacom says that although customers are becoming more aware of the activity, they should remain vigilant and avoid becoming victims of fraud.
“We urge our customers not to respond to text messages asking for any personal information. In this day and age, where criminals are using technology to extract personal information on a more frequent basis, it is important to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity,” says Maurice.
The most common smishing scam to be aware of is a scam where a subscriber receives an SMS stating that he/she has won a sum of money in a competition, draw or lottery. Instead of requesting personal and other information, the subscriber is asked to purchase airtime vouchers to a specific value and to provide the recharge pin numbers to the ‘agent’ or ‘claims official’ in order to qualify for the prize; or is asked to provide personal information including ID number and banking details.
To help customers avoid being victims of fraud, Vodacom advises that the following steps be taken:
* Keep your cellphone number and cellphone as safe as you would your wallet;
* Do not reply to an SMS from an unknown sender;
* Do not provide your cellphone number to unknown parties;
* Do not react to information from unknown parties;
Customers who have responded to a smishing attempt are advised to change their banking username and password immediately. They should also monitor their accounts and report smishing attempts to the implicated source (company, organisation or institution) and to the South African Police Services.
Customers should also report smishing fraudulent activities by dialling Vodacom’s customer care number 082111 free of charge from a Vodacom cellphone and provide the cellphone number where fraudulent SMS came from to enable Vodacom to investigate and take appropriate action.