Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Eavesdropper Call Phishing: Beware of This!

Sometime ago my mobile phone (cell phone) rang a couple of times and went silent before I could respond to answer the call. Without checking much I called back the caller by clicking the missed call number.

The moment the phone was lifted on the other end, I heard conversation between two persons on the other side, one a female voice and the other a male voice. They were talking in my mother tongue, Malayalam- the native language of the South Indian state of Kerala.

It looked very much like a cross connection.

But the talk was something that aroused suspicion and curiosity simultaneously. The voices were crisp and clear and it went on like this (when translated in English):

" Are you from .......(place name) ?"  Male voice

" No. Why?" Female voice

" Are you Mrs..................(name)? Male voice

" No. Why? " Female voice

" Oh! I wanted to talk to her. She gave this number I think." Male

Normally this much was more than enough for either of them to say 'sorry, wrong number' and proceed to cut the conversation. But in this case it was not happening. Instead the conversation went on creating curiosity to Eavesdrop further. 

" Is she some relative" Female voice

" No, sister, but.....!"

" But what?"

" She is  a phone friend like"

" Phone friend?" 

" Ah! Something like that sort. You see, she is quite alone at her home and she wants some one to talk"

" Only talking or some thing more, eh?"

" That depends, sis!"

From this time onward the talk was obviously moving towards suspected immoral undertones, though not any thing that makes things too obvious. 

And that makes any curious by stander to eavesdrop quietly to learn more! I was not different and I kept listening to them for some more minutes, forgetting that I had made the call in the first place.

I never suspected the possibility of me hearing a recorded conversation between a female and a male with the covert intention of keeping me holding my phone like that and listening!

And after some time my phone went silent or cut.

I did not ever suspect the possibility of my phone balance going to zero at that moment!

Next day I was surprised to find it. I could not make a call from my mobile phone. I heard the recorded message of the telephone service provider keep repeating this: "No balance in your account-Please recharge!" 

I could not imagine any reason for my phone balance getting zero like that all of a sudden. I had quite a few couple of hundreds in my account! Where did the money go? These phone companies cheat sometimes, I said to myself and proceeded to recharge my account again.

Almost a day went and I had another miss call. This time it was another number.

I did not check the first digits of the phone number then. There was no reason for me to do that then.

As a fool and as usual I called back the number.

Again there was an apparent cross connection. I listened and my brain suddenly clicked open with something I should have. I recognized the fact that I was listening to the same conversation that I listened a day before!

So, it was no random cross connection!

It was a planned recorded conversation enticing gullible people to eavesdrop holding their phones to their ears endlessly after dialing the missed call number!

I checked the numbers. They were numbers from some foreign countries with ISD codes preceding. When I called back, I was obviously calling some international number responding to make me listen to that enticing recorded conversation. No doubt, my account balance drained very quickly to come to a zero within a few minutes!

Then the picture got clear to me.

This was nothing but a pre-planned attempt by clever international cheaters to drain out our telephone account balance.

As I have not heard of this any time earlier, I had to name this cheating myself.

I name it the eavesdropper call phishing!

Wisely I have decided not to respond to such planned missed calls any more and to examine the numbers clearly before attempting a call back!

I keep getting these calls even now. Most of the time they are different numbers, but the ISD code is +7. It means the numbers are of Kazakhstan!

I have not made any official complaints yet. Because, modern telephony is something that is full of cheating and phishing potentials like this. And none of these are possible without the connivance of the telecom service providers and perhaps the telecom regulators!

Imagine the method by which the call phisher making money in the above case. The small amount drained out from customers like me has to move finally to the account of the phisher! And that is not possible without the official approval of the telecom companies and the authorities!

I have shared my experience with my readers only to make them aware.

I wish my readers would share their experiences through the comments.