Warning: holiday mobile phone thefts and roaming scams

Warning: holiday mobile phone thefts and roaming scams

The Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum (JFPF) is warning Islanders, prior to the summer holidays commencing, about the dangers of mobile phone roaming scams and thefts when travelling abroad.

All three telecommunication companies in the Island, who are active members of the JFPF, have seen an increase in mobile phone thefts resulting in customer SIMs being used to call premium-rate numbers (high cost) which can incur thousands of pounds in charges.

Chairman of the JFPF, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Beechey commented:

“We are concerned with the number of Islanders falling victim to mobile phone roaming scams and thefts whilst travelling abroad and wanted to raise awareness prior to the summer holidays commencing. We want everyone to be safe and enjoy their holidays without the worry of losing their mobile phone and the risk of incurring substantial roaming charges.”

What to do:

  • Ensure that you have set a password on both your device AND your SIM
  • If your mobile phone is stolen, fraudsters will remove the SIM from the device. If a secure password has not been set to protect your SIM card, it can be used to generate thousands of calls in a short space of time to premium-rate numbers
  • Always be vigilant and wary of individuals trying to distract you or engage in conversation
  • Keep your device out of plain sight and ensure that it is safe when not in use
  • If your phone is lost or stolen abroad contact your service provider immediately, so they can block you SIM card to prevent it from being used fraudulently. Contact details are as follows:
    • Airtel Vodafone
    • T: +44 (0) 7829 700 121 or E: 121@airtel-vodafone.com entitled ‘urgent block for lost mobile’ including your mobile number, full name and your location
    • JT
    • T: +44 (0) 1534 882882
    • Sure
    • T: +44 1481 700 700 if calling from outside of Jersey
    • You should also report your phone as lost or stolen to the local police, in order to get a police report for your insurance company
  • Please remember that you are responsible for all roaming charges incurred on your service whether you intended to incur those charges or not.



Notes to Editors:

How do mobile phone roaming scams work?

Mobile phone thieves who steal devices are part of organised crime groups targeting holiday makers whilst abroad.

Thieves routinely target tourists in popular hotspots and within an hour it is used to call expensive premium-rate numbers, which have been set up specially to generate an income.

The crime groups rent premium-rate telephone numbers around the world and will use the device to either repeatedly call the numbers or stay connected for several hours, resulting in huge bills running into thousands of pounds.

Are there particular countries where Islanders would be most at risk?

Islanders should be vigilant wherever they are travelling, but all three telecommunication companies have witnessed that the majority of incidents have occurred in Spain.