Surrey women caught up in stolen handset scam

Nasty case of identity theft – be warned

A woman living in Surrey, England has become the victim of a serious mobile phone fraud through an obvious case of identity theft. It resulted in major run-ins with two UK MNOs [Mobile Network Operators] O2 & Vodafone, and could easily have cost her dearly. GoMo News believes this scam is well worth reporting given the degree of sophistication involved. Luckily for her, the woman is a very spritely person despite her many years. The moral of this story is that if unsolicited mobile phones turn up at your home, be very, very careful.

The incident started out very innocently with a courier making a delivery which she signed for.

The lady in question is an ardent user of eBay and didn’t suspect anything untoward.

When the package was opened, however, it contained two top mobile handsets: – a Samsung Galaxy and an Apple iPhone.

Suspecting a simple mistake she looked at the labelling and saw the package was addressed to ‘Dr Mary Smith’.

That’s the correct first and last name but wrong title. She doesn’t hold a doctorate.

Whilst pondering her next move, the lady’s mobile phone rang. Significantly, the telephone number was blocked.

A friendly female voice then informed her that a mistake had been made and the handsets had been intended for a different woman some 15 miles away [Wembley].

The caller then said that a courier was on its way to rectify the situation.

Around 20 minutes later, a mini cab driver duly appeared on her doorstep asking for the package.

Cheekily he even asked her for the delivery fee but the lady told him that Vodafone (one of the two handset supplers) would have to cover the cost of the error.

Te courier then disappeared with both handsets. That’s when the fraud began to rear its ugly head.

The lady’s telephones then startting to ring with both Vodafone and O2 demanding payment for the two handsets that had been delivered.

Fortunately, the lady went straight to the police and obtained a crime reference number.

When she explained what happened to O2 the MNO appreciated the fact that it had made a mistake and told her not to worry.

Unfortunately, Vodafone’s help centre accepted her story but invoices kept arriving through the post for the next two weeks.

GoMo News can’t work out exactly how both MNOs were tricked into sending handsets to an address without pre-payment. But it is a very respectable area.

However, it probably also has something to do with the fact that this mature lady has impeccable financial credentials.

So the lesson to be learned, therefore, is that if unsolicited handsets turn up at your door – return them to the MNO’s nearest store.

Don’t hand them over to a bogus mini cab driver.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
This article was published in Mobile Operators, Vodafone, mobile news, o2 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Surrey women caught up in stolen handset scam

  1. Paul Webster says:

    Try a search for ” mobile phone delivery scam” for plenty of similar reports over last 18 months.
    Happened to a neighbour in last month.

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