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SIM-swap crime syndicate infiltrating South African mobile operators investigated

| Crime and security

An investigation into a criminal syndicate which has allegedly infiltrated all mobile operators in South Africa is underway. The Rapport newspaper recently reported that a criminal syndicate has infiltrated all mobile operators in South Africa, and can gain access to any mobile phone to commit crimes.

According to the report, the syndicate – which is being investigated by the Hawks – uses its contacts within the mobile operators to perform SIM swaps and Internet banking fraud.

MyBroadband asked the mobile operators for details about the investigation and whether their subscribers are safe from SIM swap fraud.

Vodacom confirmed it is investigating one if its agents regarding alleged SIM swap fraud.

“It is customary that an investigation of this nature will also consider possible syndicate activity,” said Vodacom.

The operator said it has taken a number of proactive measures in recent months to combat SIM swap fraud.

“We have seen instances of SIM swap fraud decline markedly in the past year, and these further measures will continue that trend,” said Vodacom.

Cell C confirmed it is aware of the investigation and, as with all fraud-related matters, is working closely with the relevant authorities.

“Cell C takes these matters very seriously and has many processes in place to detect and prevent fraudulent SIM swaps,” it said.

“We continuously review these procedures to stay ahead of the fraudsters.”

Telkom said there have been no reports, internally or externally, regarding its customers being affected by SIM swap fraud.

“We constantly monitor SIM swaps and investigate anomalies. We are confident that the measures we have in place will mitigate this type of fraud,” said Telkom.

MTN could not immediately say whether a criminal syndicate has infiltrated the company and whether its subscribers are at risk.

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