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Thread: Telkom billing refund scam

  1. #1
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Telkom billing refund scam

    Hi Everyone

    The scams continue....!

    I have just received a letter from the "Telkom SA Billing & Tariff Inspectorate" telling me that they have had a look at my business account and have seen that I have overpaid Telkom R6 804,80 over the last year.

    And that Telkom, in all their loving kindness is going to refund me this money through an electronic transfer. ALL I have to do is send them my banking details to 086 691 0901.

    It's a scam so please don't fall it!

    How do I know this:
    1. There is nothing stopping Telkom just crediting my account.
    2. Telkom already HAS my banking details.
    3. The e-mail address is not to a @telkom.co.za
    4. Their contact, Mr John Moyo, only gives a cellphone number (and of course it is never answered - you can't even leave a message).
    5. The mail is addressed to "Accounts". Even for a business, when you fill in the forms to start with, the name of the contact or responsible person is always given - so why isn't it used here.
    6. The amount they spoke about is about the same amount as my telephone bill for the year anyway. And with the way Telkom bills, I have seen from my account that their billing was correct. So I know that no mistakes of even a fraction of that amount have been made.

    AND

    7. The telephone number they refer to is INCORRECT.

    I work from a home office where I have three telephone numbers. My business telephone line is used as a FAX line (with the number 667 6223) while incoming calls are received on an alternative telephone number (667 6633), but which is still on our home phone line. It is shown like this in the telephone directory listings and in any contact details that I give out.

    However, the letter referred to the 667 6633 number as being the company number!!! (It is actually registered under my husband's name.) So I KNOW that they are NOT Telkom. They probably got the details from the directory services database.

    So this brings me to the question of what are they actually getting up to?
    Is it a scam to get your banking details on top of all the other details they already know - and then to somehow go to the bank to fleece you out of money.

    Or is it that they will do some kind of "oops, we over paid you, please can you send us a whole lot of money back" - only for the poor sucker to find they haven't paid you a cent, but now you have given them a whole lot of dough instead.

    Who knows. But please be warned - it is a scam!!!

    If you get an fax or e-mail from the 'Inspectorate' either ignore it, or go straight to a Telkom customer services office and show it to them.
    Last edited by Ann Williams; 22-Oct-07 at 09:34 AM. Reason: minor language changes
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  2. #2
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    How does a scam occur if a criminal has your banking details, without any actual "authorisation" to debit your account?

    Recently a foreign company genuinely transferred an overpayment into our company account, we were informed by our bank that the error was the fault of the foreign bank, but even so the bank would not reverse the funds without signed authorisation from our company.
    Which was naturally of more concern to us, as we wanted the bank to carry the responsibility of the refund/reversal and this they would not do.

    Should we refuse to provide personal or company banking details to; Telkom, Electricity, Landlord, almost all credit applications?

    Our banking details are provided to clients to enable electronic transfers,(Appears on our invoices and statement!)

    Even a hospital emergency visit - results in almost every personal detail being recorded prior to obtaining attention!

    A scam which resulted in a financial loss to a company of an friend, almost without question had obtained all the information directly from someone at S.A.R.S.


    Yvonne

  3. #3
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Oh dear!

    Hi Yvonne

    Personally, if there is a query from one of the big service providers (municipality, Telkom, Eskom, or SARS) I would rather go directly to one of their offices and sort things out, than respond to a fax or e-mail that looks anything but Cosher.

    I don't care who they say they are, I don't like giving out my banking details along with my signature to anyone any more. The only time that I will do that is on an application form that I know comes from the specific place eg. SARS.

    Also, if I get any kind of correspondance of this nature, I tend to query it with a phone call to the number in the telephone directory (if available) - not only to the telephone number given on the e-mail or fax. Big corporations / para-statals all can back up what has been sent out. (If you can't contact them - even if it is to be stuck into a queuing system - then that is an immediate potential warning sign.)

    In this case, there is no doubt here that this is a scam. (My hubby works for Telkom.) What I don't know - and don't want to get involved in, is exactly what they are getting up.

    Even the banks are warning their business clients about this type of thing as they are battling with thieves getting access to businesses' accounts by having all of the correct details, a fraudulent ID book (apparently very easy to get if you have the right contacts) and even the 'correct' signature.

    A Toastmasters club I previously belonged to had this happen to them a few years back. With money being lost as a result of fraudulent cheques in the club's name being used.

    Although I don't enjoy running a business with this kind of distrust, I have seen way too many scams and attempts at scams recently to stick my head in the sand about them.

    I would rather be awake than lose tens of thousands. I can't afford to live with rose-tinted specticals on.
    Last edited by Ann Williams; 22-Oct-07 at 12:18 PM.
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  4. #4
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Use a different signature

    One of the other things that I now do to possibly assist me with protecting my bank accounts is to have two signatures.

    The signature that I have on all of my signature cards at the bank is different to the signature that I use everywhere else.

    Let's say I go to the hospital or open a new account. I will use my 'general signature' - which is quite legal; whereas my cheques (don't use too many of them any more) and banking is done with my 'bank signature'.

    Hopefully this may help if anyone decides to try some identity theft.
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    Anne,

    I never know when I am over-reacting and when my actions are just "normal caution!" By instinct I want to trust everyone, but after a few costly life lessons, no longer do.

    Two styles of signatures are an excellent idea, and I am going to suggest that to my husband and daughter, (unfortunately I am so forgetful these days I myself will mix them up, I have trouble with my pin number on one single card!)

    Semeone mentioned the other day that it is unlikely we will every be able to live our lives under the impression that our finances: whether R.A.'s, medical aids, pensions or bank accounts are safe from misrepresentation, corruption and fraud.

    For every technological advancement to ensure security, the criminal minds find ways around it.

    Yvonne

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Williams View Post
    The signature that I have on all of my signature cards at the bank is different to the signature that I use everywhere else.

    Let's say I go to the hospital or open a new account. I will use my 'general signature' - which is quite legal; whereas my cheques (don't use too many of them any more) and banking is done with my 'bank signature'.
    What a stunning idea!

    How do they get their money? It'll be the "overpayment / wrong account - please refund" deal I'm sure.

    But chewing it over the scam is quite ingenious right from the first approach.

    In a way it is a natural filter. If you're in the league to "not notice" that level of overbilling, there's a fair chance you've got a bank account worth raiding.
    Last edited by Dave A; 22-Oct-07 at 02:15 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  7. #7
    Full Member Ann Williams's Avatar
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    Red face A follow-up call?

    I had a very interesting call yesterday, and my paranoia neuron is tingling a little here.

    Firstly it was on a very bad line (obviously a Skype link). The gentleman who phoned said that his name was 'Jack' and he had asked for 2B Business Solutions cc (the correct name for my company, rather than 2B Marketing, which is one of our products).

    He then proceeded to ask for the manager; I said he could speak to me.
    He then asked for the business owner; I said he could speak to me.
    He then specifically asked for "your husband, Mr Jeremy Williams". Spot on, but by now bells are ringing... (partly because he is so insistant not to speak to me despite my telling him that I own and run the company).

    Why I am now starting to wonder what is happening is that although hubby is a silent member of my company, (he fixes my computers when they start blue-screening themselves to death, but that is all), it's his name on the telephone number that the 'Telkom' blokes sent the e-mail about!

    When I then asked 'Jack' which company he was calling from and how I as a respresentative of the business may assist him, he insisted on asking for my hubby again. When I told him hubby doesn't work here and that it is my business, he hung up on me.

    My first thought yesterday were that he was just a male chauvinist prat (ie. can't talk to a woman, has to talk to 'the man in charge'. Yup. I get that every now and then, especially when taking my car in for a service - despite being a car designer at one stage in my life.)

    Then I wondered whether they were trying to sell something geared towards the male market. (Something of potential interest to the improvement of our sex lives maybe?)

    Then today, another thought popped into my mind.... I wonder if it is the same people who sent the 'Telkom' fax to me. In the fax they didn't refer to a specific person.

    So I think they have access to Telkom's full database (yes, it is available to outsiders), looked at the telephone number of the company given on the fax, searched under the telephone number in the database and popped up with Jeremy (remember the 'work' telephone number I give to phone in to is actually our private line) as the 'responsible person', ie the only person who could sign off on anything for the account.

    Hmm! A follow-up call as I didn't respond to the original fax???

    Right, you can cart me off to the looney-bin now but remember to bring an extra vehicle for my paranoia (But then again, nothing would surprise me these days...!)
    Last edited by Ann Williams; 30-Oct-07 at 01:32 PM.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I'm trying to think of a single thing that might quench your paranoia. I regret nothing too encouraging comes to mind.

    The best scenario I can think of is that Jack really is a male chauvinist prat.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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