View Full Version : Big SMS banking scam exposed

06-11-2014, 09:05 AM

JOHANNESBURG - SMS banking is not safe. The Citizen learns that the security chain between the bank and the phone user has been breached.

Two members of a sophisticated alleged SMS banking fraud syndicate were arrested by Johannesburg Commercial crime police on Thursday and Friday respectively.

The Citizen was asked by investigators to hold back the story until today – possibly to allow the police time for further investigation and arrests.

One of the suspects, a Vodacom employee, was arrested on Thursday afternoon.
Police then set a trap to arrest his partner in crime, who was arrested midnight on Friday.
Captain Hendrick Mokonyane said the Vodacom engineer was arrested at VodaWorld, Midrand, and had a bachelor of science engineering (BSE) degree.

The other syndicate member was arrested at Caltex garage in Olifansfontein before he withdrew more money fraudulently.
Mokonyane said the syndicate is able to block and delay an SMS notification from banks.

“The Vodacom employee is the one who diverts SMS notification to their cellphones.
“That is how they get access to your personal details, such as account number and how much is in a bank.

“They do their business at Hilton Hotel in Sandton.

“We asked the engineer how much he earned by doing this scam, and he said over R2,4 million,” Mokonyane said.
He said last month the syndicate did a scam through Nedbank, where they had opened a trust account and got away with R2,4 million.
“Their first withdrawal was R320 000. The other money was distributed to different accounts.
“We also learned that these guys don’t have houses.

“ They live in a hotel in Sandton and drive luxury cars,” said Mokonyane.
He said he believes that the syndicate works with bank employees who tell them which account to hit.

The Citizen managed to view the documents and evidence including four cellphones, four passports, two identity documents, 10 Nedbank cards, 18 Standard bank cards, four Ithala bank cards, 18 FNB cards, 22 Absa bank cards, eight Vodacom starter packs and nine invoices which were all confiscated by the police.

All the victims are Vodacom network users.