Cellphone scammers targeting SA users

File: MTN warns that syndicates are trying to profit by getting cellphone users to call numbers overseas. Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

JOHANNESBURG -Cellphone Network service providers have warned about a new scam in which South African cellphone users are enticed to call international numbers.

Morne du Plessis, fraud operations manager at MTN South Africa, said when a user called the international number back, the call was charged at a higher rate than a normal call to the international destination.

"Your network operator will then charge you accordingly for that call. We will then have to pay the carrier that carries that event to the destination, a cost which obviously is recovered from the retail revenue that we collect from the subscriber that originated the call. The carrier, in turn, will pay the network operator where the call terminates. They have a third-party agreement with a third party entity who then revenue-shares a portion of that revenue they collect from the carrier.

READ: SAPS warns of countrywide SMS scam

"In short, there are syndicates out there that will do these automated calls and if you dial back it's a quick and easy way for them to generate money for themselves."

Du Plessis said that fortunately, not many South Africans appeared to be falling for the scam.

"There is a significant volume of inbound traffic from these automated call generators. Not a lot of people are dialling these back. So I think from a financial risk point we are not talking significant volumes, but there are certainly a lot of these missed calls coming in and terminating on subscribers' mobile numbers."


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