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Beware SIM and device scams

The holiday season is upon us and as usual, it brings with it an increase in phishing, fraud and theft. MTN gives us a few pointers on how we can best protect ourselves and our phones.

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the excitement of a well-deserved break, spending time with loved ones and of course gift shopping. MTN SA wants to remind customers that the number scams have been increasing.

Says Lily Zondo, GM of Risk Management at MTN SA: ‚”We want to ensure that our customers are reminded about the necessary steps they need to take should an unfortunate incident occur. We are therefore advising customers to be careful in a few particular areas, as we have noticed a pattern in the past of theft and fraud.‚”

MTN is asking customers to be extra vigilant when shopping – if a mobile device gets stolen, it is not the device that is compromised, but also the information stored on it. Continues Zondo: ‚”If a device is lost or stolen, the user must report it to the police and contact MTN straight away for SIM deactivation. This will ensure that the SIM cannot be fraudulently used where you are left with a massive bill to settle months later.

Fraudulent activity:

MTN also want to alert customers to the realities of fraudulent upgrades, SIM swaps, holiday hoaxes and SMS scams, as well as identity theft. Adds Zondo: ‚”Should a customer suspect irregular activity, they should alert our MTN Customer Operations straight away. We also reinforce to our customers that they should not give out their personal documents or details such bank accounts details and ID numbers.‚”

When travelling:

With data and roaming costs a top of mind concern for customers, MTN is urging those who are travelling during this period to ensure that their data roaming is switched off, as roaming overseas can be a costly experience.

Furthermore, should the device be lost or stolen overseas, a data roaming bill can be run up quite quickly, especially if the customer is not able to contact its service provider, having no form of communication.

Tips for the customers:

· It is important that customer make use of the following security features on their phones:

o Handset pin, where the pin prevents unauthorised use of the phone itself.

o SIM card pin, where the pin prevents unauthorised use of the card if it is removed from the handset.

– Customers must be vigilant with regards to SMS’s that they receive requesting their full details or congratulating them on winning the lottery or some prizes. Customers must not respond to such messages.

– Customers receiving prank calls telling them they have won a prize, and that they should provide their ID numbers, proof of residence, etc. should refrain from divulging personal information.

– Also, the Broadcast messages on BBM can potentially be a phishing scam and the recipient should be cautious when opening URLs embedded in these messages.

– Safeguard yourself from identity theft with alerts from the relevant credit bureaus in the event that there is a critical change on your credit report. Avoid distributing your cell phone number on social networking sites to prevent unwanted and malicious SMS messages.

– Do not open and e-mail forms that request information of personal nature.

– Be cautious of using Wi-Fi hotspots.

– Keep your mobile device software up to date and install security software on smartphones and tablets.

– Do not jailbreak or circumvent security features of mobile.

– Only purchase applications for your mobile devices from reputable online applications stores.

– Ensure that you have a back-up of all information stored on you mobile device on a computer or portable hard drive.

– Remove all personal information from a mobile device before you dispose of it.


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