MTN South Africa on Tuesday warned of a new scam promising users an easy-to-remember phone number in exchange for payment, which is then stolen.

Fraudsters pretending to be MTN agents approach individuals or companies attempting to sell VIP mobile numbers claiming that the operator will automatically register a a premium number on their behalf for a fee of up to R20 000 per number.

MTN said the scam happens in two ways.

Firstly, after a customer has bought the so-called VIP Sim card, the “agent” tricks the victim and makes them believe that the VIP Sim they bought has been registered and will be activated after one hour.

Only after a few hours, when they still can’t use the new Sim, they realise it’s fraud.

Secondly, fraudsters obtain a VIP mobile number illegally through a Sim swap or porting. They sell this fraudulently obtained number, but as soon as the legitimate customer queries the fraud the number is reversed back to the original owner and the customer who “bought” the Sim card is out of pocket.

“MTN is urging all its customers not to respond to these VIP number calls. Customers should report these scams to the police and to MTN through the fraud desk at [email protected],” the company said.  — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media