LEPHALALE — Mogol Post has been made aware of a circulating message this week, which informs the community about a new scheme in town.
In the message, sent through WhatsApp voice note, community members are alerted about people who stand at shopping centres in town, especially between the taxi rank and Lephalale Crossing.
The scammers deceive the public by claiming to be representatives of Vodacom and running a promotion for 5 GB data as well as dealing with a doctor’s appointment.
Unsuspecting would-be victims are randomly approached and requested to produce their cell phones so that they remove the sim card to have the IMEI number written down.
An International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a globally unique 15 digit number assigned to all cellular devices and identifies each device within the mobile network.
The IMEI number can be used to block a mobile phone from being used by another person or phone company if it has been lost or stolen.
As soon as the battery is put back, the scammers will advise that the cell phone remain switched off for at least two hours with a promise that data will be loaded.
What happens next is continuous transferring of money through cash send and so far police say they do not know how and where the money is withdrawn.
“There are cases where victims lose an entire salary and only find out when they switch on their phones two hours later. Scammers then withdraw the salary without the victim’s card. These are scammers and do not work for Vodacom,” says the voice message.
Lephalale Cluster Police Spokesperson Warrant Officer Frans Mokoena confirmed to Mogol Post that the matter has been brought to their attention.
“We are aware of incidents whereby people have been asked to remove the batteries of their phones so that some details can be taken from the back of the phone.
“What is unfortunate is that in so doing, members of the community are giving away sensitive information and access to criminals who will then use it to withdraw all the hard earned money.
“If a victim has their phone off, they will only realise after two hours that withdrawals have been made without their consent.
“We appeal to the public to be vigilant, never trust strangers and come forward to the police if you have been scammed or have information that can assist police to arrest the scammers,” concluded WO Mokoena.