MTN Sim Swap scam

South African telecommunications service provider, MTN, has issued a note of warning to its subscribers to beware of the latest scam doing the rounds in the country. It is called the sim swap scam.

With mobile phones becoming a prevalent tool for banking transactions, criminals have started seizing control of phone numbers to get into people’s bank account.

As part of the scam, a supposed MTN call centre agent contacts customers and requests their security details claiming to be blocking the processing of a SIM swap request that was made without the customer’s consent.

The scammers will then use the responses of the customer obtained during the call to perform a fraudulent SIM Swap and possibly use it to access customer’s banking details.

In a statement released on Monday, MTN South Africa said it will not contact customers from its call centre to block the processing of a SIM swap request.

Sim Swap Processes MTN Wants You To Be Aware Of

MTN in the statement highlighted the key aspects of the SIM swap process that customers should be aware of in order not to fall victim of the Sim Swap Scam.



Hence when performing a SIM swap note the following:

  • Customers have a couple of options available to them
  • For post-paid, customers are required to visit an MTN store to activate their SIM swap
  • Customers are also requested to produce an ID document
  • For Prepaid,  customers are able to process a SIM swap via a USSD code, call centre or by visiting an MTN store
  • When opting to visit an MTN store, subscribers will be required to produce an ID document.
  •  Subscribers who choose to activate remotely will be required to complete security questions.

“MTN is in a continued quest to combat fraud and scams, again we urge our customers not to respond to unsolicited calls and requests for their security details from an unknown number.” the company stated.

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South Africans are therefore reminded that scammers try to transfer funds linked to online bank accounts through ” SIM swap,” the process of cancelling the SIM card linked to a victim’s number and activating a new one on a phone in their control.

This means all calls and texts to the victim’s number are routed to the criminal’s phone, so they can activate codes or authorizations needed for online bank transfers, such as a one-time pin or password.

The sim Swap was introduced by the giant network to enable customers that have problems with their lines either because they have lost it, it has been stolen, or damaged to be able to retrieve it. While it can be done in the offices of the network or their designated spots with the person needing the sim swap being present, it could as well be carried out through the call centre as earlier pointed out.

There are different sim swap options that are available to cover for different categories of customers; prepaid and postpaid. While prepaid customers are required to visit an MTN store with an identity document before the process can be activated, prepaid customers are given three different options: via a USSD code, call centre, or by visiting an MTN store too.

Different situations for the real MTN Sim Swap for MTN PayAsYouGo, MTN Contract or LTE SIM:

  • When you want to swap your sim and can no longer make use of your old SIM card.
  • When you want to do a SIM swap and your old SIM card is still active and is able to accept SMS.
  • For contract subscribers, the network expects that one contacts his service provider before attempting a sim swap. You will, however, need to get a new Contract SIM card from MTN SP.
  • You will need to RICA your sim for other swaps, but when it comes to the Contract subscribers, you do not need to RICA this new SIM card to continue.

While for the first situation you will need to  Buy an MTN PayAsYouGo starter pack before you can continue with the process, for the second what you will need to get is the MTN PayAsYouGo starter pack.

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For the complete and more detailed process of carrying out a sim swap, you can visit MTN site here, or call their call centre agent, just as you can decide to visit the store. The most important thing is not to give anyone your security details when called.