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Telecom Providers Join Forces To Combat Smartphone Fraud

Posted by KPN

Dutch telecom providers are joining forces in their fight against smartphone fraud. In a joint initiative – the Preventel foundation – they are launching the information website voorkomsmartphonefraude.nl. Smartphone fraud is a relatively new form of crime in the Netherlands. Victims are enticed or coerced into take out a telephone subscription that includes a device that they then have to relinquish, while remaining responsible for the subscription and the costs. With the new website, the providers offer better information about recognizing and preventing this type of fraud, as well as what to do if you fall victim to it. The website is a joint initiative of KPN, Vodafone, Telfort, hollandsnieuwe, Ben, Tele2, T-Mobile, Yes Telecom and Preventel.

‘Providers have already taken a variety of measures in recent years to reduce smartphone fraud as much as possible,’ says Frederik Schutte, chairman of the Preventel foundation. ‘However, since this is still a relatively new form of crime, it is crucial that we, the Dutch telecom providers, join forces to inform and educate people properly. Awareness helps people to be more alert and opens the subject for discussion. Together with the authorities, we can thus continue to work towards a better approach to smartphone fraud and how to prevent it.’

Recognition and prevention

Criminals try to make money in a variety of ways from phone fraud and scams. They use all kinds of tricks through telephone contact, SMS or WhatsApp. The website voorkomsmartphonefraude.nl focuses specifically on the form of smartphone fraud in which victims are coerced into taking out subscriptions and the new smartphones are subsequently taken away from them. This provides readers with information and tips on how to recognize and prevent smartphone fraud and what to do if you have fallen victim. Some of the tips:

  • Trust your instinct and be alert. If something sounds too good to be true, it’s usually not a good sign.
  • Never take out a subscription for someone else.
  • Never sign a contract you don’t agree with.
  • Never take out a subscription or contract against your will or if you can’t actually afford it.
  • Never respond to “suspicious” advertisements that promise that you will earn a lot of money quickly.

In addition, providers are asking people to report to www.fraudehelpdesk.nl any suspicious activity such as messages about earning money quickly with your cellphone.

Measures

Prior to this new cooperation, the various providers themselves had already taken measures to prevent fraud wherever possible. For example, creditworthiness tests are carried out in the shops, various providers have special rules for the sale of subscriptions to young customers, and shop staff are trained to recognize and take action in fraud situations. The Preventel joint venture has already resulted in a joint measure, whereby an extra check is carried out if a person submits several applications in a certain period of time for a subscription with a device. With the launch of www.voorkomsmartphonefraude.nl information is now available nationwide as well.―CT Bureau

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