The South African Police Service has arrested a suspect said to be a key player in a recent spate of Sim-swap fraud cases.
MTN South Africa said on Wednesday that it had participated in a police sting operation that led to the arrest.
A Sim swap allows mobile network operators to issue new Sim cards to customers who have lost their cellphone and port the same number to the new phone. The scam works when criminals obtain access to a customer’s bank accounts details, including their Pin and passwords.
“MTN’s forensic services team worked closely with the Wierdabrug police in Centurion to track down and arrest an individual linked to the fraudulent Sim swaps of MTN customers and perpetrating further scams nationwide,” the mobile operator says.
MTN GM for business risk Lilly Zondo says the company’s forensic team and the Wierdebrug police made “great strides in the tracking and monitoring the suspect’s activities”.
MTN claims the matter is sub judice and as a result cannot provide further information pertaining to the case.
The operator says it is “not certain” how customers’ information is compromised by Sim-swap fraudsters but “understands that it can be done through phishing or when a customer’s personal documents such as ID documents are compromised”.
Phishing involves fraudsters sending e-mails to unsuspecting targets creating the impression that the e-mail comes from the customers’ bank. Customers are asked to update their personal and banking data that allows access to funds.
Once in possession of these bank details, the fraudster performs a Sim swap and gets possession of the customer’s phone number and can then receive bank notifications.
“A special team has been tasked with initiating security measures to protect MTN customers, such as an improved authentication process when carrying out a Sim swap,” the company says. “This delays the Sim swap until the legitimate customer has confirmed the request via SMS.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media