Avenir was unable to connect to T-Mobile for half a day.
Mobile News understands the dealer, located in Leicester, picked names from a phonebook and took out T-Mobile prepay deals in their names, before attempting to migrate them onto premium T-Mobile contracts which pay hefty commissions.
T-Mobile suspended both Avenir dealers’ connector codes and Avenir’s own connector code on the morning of January 4 after the fraud escalated. It was claimed last week other dealers’ connector codes were also compromised by the perpetrator.
T-Mobile’s main distribution management team was absent as the frauds hit and action was taken, Mobile News understands.
A statement from T-Mobile head of independent retail Roger Fletcher, issued to the entire channel the same morning, said T-Mobile had suspended certain codes and all dealers were required to connect customers via [online registration system] WebReg, instead of [telephone system] TeleReg.
T-Mobile is understood to have issued an apology to Avenir for the suspension of its code, and issued it a new code so its dealer base could resume connections on the afternoon of January 4.
A T-Mobile statement said: “T-Mobile was forced to temporarily suspend connection codes used by indirect channels in order to investigate an isolated incident of fraud that became apparent at the weekend. T-Mobile is working closely with the distributor in question to eradicate the problem.”
Avenir UK managing director Tanny Price said: “Any distributor would support any network’s attempts to eliminate fraud from the channel.”
Avenir’s client services team was bolstered to facilitate connections via its own code.
Price added: “Our client services team is set up to take calls and facilitate connections on behalf of dealers. And, in a way, the efficiency of it has proved we can offer it as a service for dealers anyway. Some dealers prefer us to run the connections and credit checking anyway.”