Yesterday, we discusses on how mobile phone users can secure themselves from unknown calls/SMS. It is pertinent to mention that cellular companies should also come forward with foolproof system to cap such sort of illegal activities. There are increasing amount of reported incidents where people use Mobile Phones to generate black money in form of fraudulent lottery scams, SMS based balance transfers and other similar things. Today, I will discuss what types of mobile frauds we can come across in our daily lives.
- USSD (Short code based Business cards) and balance transfers
- SMS based frauds
- Sympathetic SMS messages / E-Begging
- Cloned Mobile numbers
- Fake Lottery Systems
USSD (Short code based Business cards) and balance transfers:
The USSD (short code based business cards) and balance transfers are very come these days, in which victim party gets a message of accepting business card from particular mobile number. Victim normally does not understand the implications and the purpose of the transfer and hence results in to balance transfer of certain amount. The main technique involved in this type of fraud is embedded code in the business card message. These frauds use SMS based balance transfer facilities offered from mobile operators.
SMS based Frauds:
SMS based frauds are somewhat similar to USSD frauds, in which victim receives SMS that if he/she diala number given in SMS (normally a balance transfer code) than he/she may get a prize, double balance or similar. The nutshell of this fraud is balance transfer.
Criminals use bulk SMS sending software to send their SMS to a huge amount of mobile phone subscribers, out of which their success ratio is higher in urban areas.
Sympathetic SMS messages or E-Begging:
These messages contain sympathetic text like “I am in hospital and my mom is under serious condition, please send me Rs. 10 balance”. “E-Begging” will be a good term for such activities. It is a matter of fact that people use it for getting their balance filled without spending any money.
Cloned Mobile Numbers:
Now, matter of fact is that if someone try to trace fraudulent(s) , the mobile number mostly are cloned with SIM cloning technologies; and this is not it , it could be even used for serious crimes as well.
Fake Lottery Systems:
Fake lottery systems are again common in Pakistan, like customers get call that they have won a Car, cash prize or both. As money attracts; most of the customers opt for offers like provide us Rs.1000/- balance card no and we will send you prize and etc. The latest news about these systems is that, now these frauds are common with overseas Pakistanis.
Role of PTA:
PTA has initiated lot of steps to cater these issues like publishing advertisements and informing masses about these frauds. But we see no major difference in slowdown in such activities.
Operators can invest in SPAM filtering solutions, similar to what email providers do with SPAM emails, in order to track bulk amount of SMS traffic originating from a specific number. 789 will of course do wonders in bringing down these illegal activities, but PTA should come up with solid policies for balance transfer methodologies and SPAM filtering process for cellular companies.