Vodacom has launched a new security feature that will help protect against cellphone fraud by automatically locking the SIM card if irregular call activity is detected.

Vodacom has been experiencing an increase in the number of fraud incidences that were due to International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF). In this type of fraud, a syndicate steals handsets or SIM cards from victims and uses them to dial international premium numbers which could result in cellphone bills as high as R120 000.00.

IRSF incidents were increasing from below 10 to more than 20 incidents per month and the traditional limit-lock could not effectively mitigate this fraud risk.

Much like security measures employed by credit card companies to detect irregular charge activity, Vodacom’s new cellphone security measure can detect abnormal activity and high call volumes and charges. The system will automatically lock the SIM card should this occur. This includes any significant increase in call values, particularly any suspicious international roaming calls that appear to be out of the ordinary.

The auto-lock solution has been implemented for all Vodacom Contract customers, but there is an exclusion option which is made available to customers wishing to opt-out of the service. When a customer’s phone has been locked due to suspicious activity, the customer will be contacted on the alternative number that Vodacom was provided with by the customer when the contract was signed.

Portia Maurice, Vodacom’s chief officer for corporate affairs, comments: “Protecting our customers is important to us. This new feature helps us look after our customers in the event that their SIM card or phone is compromised.”