Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/FELIX DLANGAMANDLA
Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FOTO24/FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

Two Vodacom subscribers who were the victims of online banking fraud later found the sim swap had taken place while they were on international flights and thus unable to receive SMS notifications from their banks.

While on a flight from the US to Canada in April, John Gosling of Mowbray, Cape Town, was unaware that someone had applied for a sim swap in his name. Shortly thereafter R28,000 was transferred out of his account.

The bank later managed to recover about half of this money.

Gosling had contacted Vodacom's call centre from the airport to request that the roaming service be activated just before his departure from South Africa.

"Another creepy aspect is access from my cellphone to both my partner's number and my home phone number had been blocked, obviously to avoid the fraudulent sim swap being stopped."

Irene Rheeder had her cellphone on flight mode while she was flying from Cape Town to Seoul in 2015.

Barely an hour into the flight, at a Vodacom shop in Sunnyside Pretoria, a "twin call" facility was activated on her primary number.

If the "twin call" facility is activated and the primary number switched off, a second number receives the calls and SMSes until the subscriber activates their phone again.

Criminals accessed Rheeder's bank account and used the one time pin her bank sent to the "twin" number to transfer R25,000 out of her account.

Luckily, the bank's fraud department stopped a second attempt to transfer R25,000 out of her account.

Vodacom said a staff member had colluded with a syndicate to commit the fraud.

The network subsequently made a "no liability" goodwill offer to Rheeder.

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