A NEW REPORT from the BBC accuses staff at O2 and Vodafone stores of facilitating the theft of customers' money through a so-called SIM-swap scam.
The problem arises when scammers try to order a replacement SIM card for your account. The report claims that staff aren't checking if these people are who they say they are, and as a result, are literally giving away the mobile phone account, allowing the scammer to use your mobile banking apps, intercept security codes, and of course hijack your calls.
One victim lost £2,000 after EE allowed a scammer to take hold of her account.
In an experiment carried out by the BBC's Watchdog show, EE and Three stores insisted on photo ID before issuing a replacement SIM. Vodafone and O2 did not.
In fact, O2 failed to ask for photo ID in five out of six branches that were tested. In one, the assistant explained that he had "little semi-dodgy ways of doing things".
O2 responds: "To mitigate SIM Swap fraud we're the only operator to send an authentication code to the original SIM, notifying our customers that someone is trying to access their number in store. We also ask questions specific to the account which adds another layer of protection to minimise fraud.
"As an extra layer of security for Pay As You Go we are adding compulsory photo ID checks in all our stores across the country in the coming weeks."
TV's 'that nice young lady' Steph McGovern says: "What makes this scam so effective is that you probably won't even know it's happened until it's too late. And mobile phone companies are making it easier for the fraudsters by not carrying out the checks they're supposed to. That's just not good enough. They need to get their act together so that their own customers aren't being put at risk." μ
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