SIM-card fraud while you sleep


It’s 2.30 am when her cellphone rings. Rensu Nel has a huge fright – has someone died? She answers but there’s silence at the other end and she hangs up.

Immediately the phone rings again . . . and again, and again. Twelve times in total, and 12 times all Rensu hears is silence.

Finally the ringing stops but then crude SMSes start arriving. “I thought it was some sex pest sending dirty messages while his wife was sleeping next to him,” the 70-year-old widow of Kempton Park says.

She writes down the number but eventually she’s so irritated she switches off the phone – and in so doing unwittingly plays neatly into the hands of her harasser.

The next morning she can’t get her phone switched on but doesn’t suspect anything’s wrong.

At 11 am she calls her service provider, Vodacom. She’s shocked to hear her SIM card has been blocked.

That afternoon she checks her bank account on her computer. What she sees leaves her reeling. “With two transactions R800 000 had been stolen from my paid-up homeloan account,” she says.

Read more about how scammers are targeting your cellphone and what preventative steps to take in Danél Blaauw’s article in YOU 2 August 2012.

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