O2 clamps down on store staff B2B fraud


O2 retail staff are exploiting a loophole in the network’s connection process to fraudulently sign customers to business contracts using counterfeit identification proofs, either created by the customer or staff in-store.

O2’s fraud and security team was alerted to the activity by staff, who suspected foul play on its new business credit vetting system. In an internal memo last week, O2 called for store staff to help it stamp out the practice.

The staff memo said: “We really need you to let us know if you’ve suspected any kind of fraud attempt by a customer. We are asking you to be extra vigilant.”

Staff have also been found accepting counterfeit identity proofs of business out of trading hours, having already credit checked the customer and processed the connection.

The loophole allows O2 staff to run a ‘business owner credit vet’ – which credit checks the individual, not their business – so they may be accepted onto a business contract without even having a business.

Staff are supposed to run identity checks on the businesses, in store, by asking for company letter-headed paper, or a business purchase order. But store staff are making the identity checks up in order to hit business sales targets and to top-up their quarterly bonuses.

One sales advisor said: “I have seen staff in some stores writing identity proofs up on their computer, printing them off and getting the customer to sign them. I have also seen proofs being faxed through after the connection.”

An O2 manager said: “Some customers can pass a credit check with flying colours but fail the identity check. Without this second check being passed, we cannot complete a business contract. The urge to fudge the identity check to hit targets on a poor day can sometimes be too strong.”

Another said: “There are people that come in to the store one or two times a month and take out contracts, each time with a different name on their credit card. If they fail the credit checks, they just leave. If they pass, they don’t care what tariff they are on as long as the handset is free.”

An O2 spokesperson said: “Fraud in all its forms is a problem in the mobile industry, and we are always anxious to protect O2, its staff and its customers against it.”

O2 has also confirmed that it will be sending out loss prevention managers across the country to inspect the quality of business connection being processed in stores in a bid to reduce the numbers of fraudulent customers.