A voice note warning of a Covid-19 phone scam is viral in Namibian WhatsApp groups even though the warning appears to be for South Africans
In the viral voice note, which is 76 seconds long, an unidentified female voice warns of people calling and pretending to survey the called person on whether they had been vaccinated for Covid-19.
The female voice explains:
“I wanted to tell you about the new scam that’s going around. You can let other people know of it as well, like other family members and your friends. But there are people that are phoning people and asking them “have you been vaccinated for Covid? If you have been vaccinated, press one; if you have not been vaccinated, press two” or whatever the prompts are.”
She further states that the scam unfolds only if the instructions are followed and that people should not engage with the caller and rather just hang up.
The voice alleges that scam victims’ SIM cards would be blocked, and that the scammer would be able access the victim’s contacts and banking details.
The viral voice note has been “Forwarded many times”.
The voice note does not appear to have originated in Namibia, and the person speaking mentions towards the end that: “It is a very, very big scam and it has been going around all over South Africa for a while now.”
Efforts to trace the origin of the voice note online proved unsuccessful.
An MTC Namibia spokesperson, Erasmus Nekundi, when approached for comment on the voice note warning, explained to Namibia Fact Check that even though this particular scam was not actually trending in Namibia, it was nonetheless important for people to be alert as scammers continually come up with new ways to target people via their devices.
Nekundi said the aim of scammers is always to gain access to personal information of potential victims. He further stated the following via WhatsApp messenger:
“Should anyone get such a call, he or she should hang up and when in doubt, call MTC on 13000 or 12000 to confirm. Any incident where an unknown number calls and prompts you to dial a specific number on your phone, just end the call to avoid falling victim to scammers.”