Islamabad: Sneaky cyber thieves continue to loot mobile phone subscribers
ISLAMABAD: Sneaky cyber thieves continue to tempt mobile phone subscribers with fake offers of big cash prizes and the most amazing aspect of this ‘story’ is that some of them despite having complete knowledge about this kind of fraud still fail to overcome their temptation thus falling prey to swindlers. Swindlers are using same old techniques in which they make calls to subscribers and inform them that they have won a particular cash prize. After trapping a mobile phone user, these swindlers ask for scratch cards of different values so that the user can claim the prize money. They also use connections of different cellular companies on fake names and send SMS to users whereby they transfer the balance of users into their accounts.
All of a sudden subscribers, especially prepaid cellular mobile phone users, get SMSs or calls on their respective cell phones and news of winning a big cash prize is given to them, but the informer requires on them to send prepaid scratch card number to get eligible for receiving the prize.
A shopkeeper named Bilal Ahmad, living in Asghar Mall scheme, is the one who recently fell prey to these swindlers who trapped him in such an organised way that he was tempted to their offer despite having enough knowledge of these kinds of frauds.
Though he just lost mobile scratch cards worth Rs2,000, he is not the only victim because there are reports of large numbers of people who got trapped by these swindlers and this illegal practice still continues on the pattern of Nigerian 419 fraud.
Bilal said he received a call by a person who first gave a reference to a scheme launched by a cellular company and then informed him that he had won a cash prize worth one million rupees.
He said the person advised him to immediately call back on a particular number to claim his prize. When he called them back, he said, the first attempt resulted in a busy signal (must have been part of the game) but his second attempt connected him to a new person who put him on hold for sometime before another person, who introduced himself as a managing director of a cellular company, welcomed him in highly sophisticated manner.
He said after a brief conversation between them, the person told him to send scratch card numbers to get himself eligible for the prize. “I thought for a while after the conversation and decided not to send scratch card numbers, but after a few hours the person who called me up earlier again contacted me and said that if I fail to fulfil the requirement within an hour I would lose the cash prize,” he said.
At that moment, he said, he decided to take a risk and ultimately sent the scratch card numbers on a mobile phone number given by the person. “From that moment I have heard nothing from them and all my attempts to contact them proved fruitless,” he said.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) repeatedly cautioned the cellular mobile customers to be aware of hoax calls and unsolicited SMS alluring the subscribers to buy scratch cards and then notify scratch numbers to calling party or sender of the SMS for cash prizes.
Some instances have also been reported wherein mobile phone users were deprived of their prepaid balance by replying to a particular SMS. The SMS contains a hidden message which transfers the prepaid balance from the customer’s account to the desired account on reply.