Vodacom launch security feature to preven fraud

Vodacom has launched a new security feature that will help protect its customers from cellphone fraud by automatically locking their SIM card if irregular call activity is detected

September 8, 2011

Vodacom has been experiencing an increase in the number of fraud incidences that were due to International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF). In this type of fraud, a syndicate steals handsets or SIM cards from victims and uses them to dial international premium numbers which could result in cellphone bills as high as R120 000.

IRSF incidents were increasing from below 10 to over 20 incidents per month and the traditional limit-lock could not effectively mitigate this fraud risk.

Much like security measures employed by credit card companies to detect irregular charge activity, Vodacom’s new cellphone security measure can detect abnormal activity and high call volumes and charges. The system will automatically lock the SIM card should this occur. This includes any significant increase in call values, particularly any suspicious international roaming calls that appear to be out of the ordinary.

The auto-lock solution has been implemented for all Vodacom Contract customers, but there is an exclusion option which is made available to customers wishing to opt-out of the service. When a customer’s phone has been locked due to suspicious activity, the customer will be contacted on the alternative number that Vodacom was provided with by the customer when the contract was signed.

Portia Maurice, Vodacom’s Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs comments, “Protecting our customers is important to us. This new feature helps us look after our customers in the event that their SIM card or phone is compromised.”

Although many operators around the world have solutions as part of their credit management system such as Limit Lock which is used to manage bill shock challenges, Vodacom is the only known local network operator to have integrated this solution to its Fraud Risk Management system over and above the Limit Lock service.

Fraudsters are always looking for unconventional methods of committing fraud, so we encourage our customers to immediately report their phones for blocking as soon as they realise that their phone is missing or lost.  Regrettably, Vodacom has to pay the international networks for any premium calls generated from local cellphones and therefore cannot guarantee that the customer will have no liability if they don’t report their handset as lost or stolen.

Vodacom encourages customers who have lost their phones to follow this process to protect themselves from possible cellphone fraud:

  • Report your phone as lost or stolen to Vodacom by dialling 111 from a Vodacom cellphone or 082111 from any other phone. Your SIM card must be locked and your handset blacklisted. Blacklisting will prevent your cellphone from being used on any other network. To blacklist Data Cards or modems, dial 082 155.

When blacklisting your phone, you will need to supply:

–          The cellphone number used with the stolen handset

–          Your name, surname and ID number

–          Confirm the cellphone IMEI number (serial number)

–          The cellphone make and model

Only you can blacklist your cellphone. If a third party attempts to blacklist a cellphone, the SIM card will be locked and the unit will only be blacklisted once available.

  • After blacklisting the phone the customer must contact the South African Police Services (SAPS) to report the phone as stolen as this is necessary for insurance purposes.

In addition, follow a few other cellphone safety tips on a daily basis:

  • Deactivate International Calling and Roaming on your phone when you are not travelling.
    • Contact Vodacom if you think your SIM card has been tampered with in any way.
    • Make use of the lock functions on your phone.
    • Use security settings to apply a SIM card PIN.

“Fraudsters are always looking for new ways of committing fraud. We will continue with finding innovative solutions to help protect our customers from fraud.” Maurice concluded.

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