Telkom hangs up on fraudsters

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pretoria - Telkom is warning the public about fraudsters calling customers pretending to be their Chief Executive Officer informing them about the company's new banking details.

In this scam, customers are asked to deposit payments into an alternative bank account which belongs to the fraudsters.

The telephone call is usually followed by a facsimile on a fake Telkom letterhead that confirms the false banking details.

A fax, ostensibly from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) then follows, re-iterating that account payments need to be made into the falsified bank account.

Telkom's Group Executive for Enterprise Risk Management, Thokozani Mvelase, cautioned customers and the broader public to be extremely vigilant this festive season.

Mvelase said Telkom's corporate and global customers were particularly targeted in this scam.

"I must emphasise that Telkom does not communicate with its customers via these channels.

"Our corporate and global customers are advised to contact their respective Telkom Account Managers and/or the Company's Credit Management if they are confronted with the above-mentioned scenario," said Mvelase.

Telkom also warned the public of a sophisticated cheque fraud scam which involves fraudsters depositing a stolen or counterfeit cheque into a customer's account.

Then, on a false Telkom letterhead, the fraudsters inform the customer that the initial deposit into their account was an erroneous refund from Telkom or that it exceeded the actual amount. The customer is then advised that the surplus amount needs to be transferred back to Telkom.

Telkom said the fraudsters may also claim that the cheque was actually meant for another company such as Eskom or the South African Revenue Services and therefore needed to be transferred into the false Telkom account.

"This letter is usually delivered to the customer by hand, but facsimile and telephone correspondence have also been utilised," said Mvelase.

Telkom stressed that this transaction usually happens before the initial cheque deposit is cleared by the recipient's bank.

"Consequently, the customer's account will be debited with the amount paid into the false Telkom account while the initial cheque deposit is declined by the bank."

Members of the public are advised to report any suspicious incidents to the Telkom fraud hotline on 0860 124 000 or their nearest police station.