Sabric working ‘closely’ with network providers to address number-porting scam

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has warned members of the public against falling victim to the number porting scam.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has warned against falling victim to a not-so-new SIM-swap fraud scam.

The warning comes as a number people took to social media to express their frustration at cellphone number theft.

“Vodacom is aware that a very small number of customers have been targeted by criminals who attempt to port numbers for fraudulent means,” said the mobile network provider’s spokesperson, Kennedy Byron. MTN and Cell C did not respond to TimesLIVE’s queries.

Sabric said the scam had been around for a while, adding it was working closely with banks and mobile network operators to address it.

“Fraudulent number porting is not new and is done by fraudsters as an alternative to SIM swaps, so that they can receive all communications intended for the victim,” said acting CEO Susan Potgieter.

Victims of the scam shared with TimesLIVE how they had clicked on unknown links or simply ignored an SMS saying their numbers had been ported successfully.

Moments later, signal had been lost. Hackers had gained access to their contact list, among other details.

“In the event of a fraudulent port request, the customer will receive an SMS alerting them to a port out request on their number. To reject a port, the customer must respond to the SMS with the number ‘1’ within 50 minutes of receiving the SMS. If there is no response, the port will be approved,” said Byron.

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