An audio message went viral on South African WhatsApp groups, claiming to be a warning from police about a new scam to steal money from shoppers. Briefly.co.za takes a look into the matter to see if this was the real deal or fake news.
A 90-second audio clip, claiming to be from 'Warrant Officer Du Plessis' from the SAPS recently did the rounds, reportedly warning citizens of a new scam.
The supposed officer claims that criminals impersonating Vodacom employees were running a mobile phone promotion in shopping centres.
The fake employees supposedly removed the SIM card, noted the IMEI numbers and then send money from bank accounts using mobile banking.
Briefly.co.za takes a look into the situation to see if this is really something to watch out for, or simply fake news:
SAPS spokesperson Brenda Muridili recently told AFP that the message was indeed a hoax, confirming that the clip was not recorded by a police officer.
The South African Banking Risk Information Centre also debunked the scam as fake, commenting that:
“Criminals aren't able to access your cell phone banking using the IMEI – they would need your PIN and/or password, which you should NEVER share with anyone."
While this case was indeed a hoax, the institution reported that mobile network banking scams are on the rise, warning citizens against clicking on unsolicited links in emails or text messages.
In 2017, 13 438 incidents across bank apps, online banking and mobile banking were reported, with a 64% increase reported in 2018.
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