In a disturbing trend sweeping across the nation, criminals are capitalizing on the infamous ‘call forwarding scam’ to victimize unsuspecting individuals. Telecom giants like Reliance Jio and Airtel, alongside caller identification app Truecaller, have consistently warned users about the dangers of this deceptive scheme. Despite the longstanding awareness, scammers persist in evolving their strategies to trap innocent victims.
The Deceptive Dance: How Call Forwarding Scam Operates
Criminals don the disguise of customer service representatives, often posing as personnel from mobile network operators or internet service providers. Their queries range from mobile internet issues to broadband speed problems, using various pretexts like hacked accounts or SIM card troubles.
The trap is set when scammers propose a seemingly simple fix—directing smartphone users to dial a specific code, usually starting with 401, followed by a designated phone number. Unbeknownst to victims, this innocent-sounding solution enables call forwarding to a number under the fraudsters’ control.
Once armed with the victim’s number, scammers move to infiltrate other accounts, including messaging apps and bank accounts. With call forwarding active, they intercept calls and snag voice-based One-Time Passwords (OTPs) sent to the victim’s phone. The victims, however, remain oblivious as their phones stay silent; all incoming calls secretly rerouted to the fraudulent number.
The Motive: Financial Theft at the Core
The crux of these scams lies in financial theft. Despite advanced security systems employed by banks, the human element proves susceptible to exploitation. Smartphone users unwittingly create opportunities for scammers. Additionally, these criminals may target WhatsApp accounts through this cunning tactic.
Safeguarding Against the Scam
To shield yourself from falling prey to the call forwarding scam, adhere to these precautions:
- Avoid Unfamiliar Codes: Refrain from initiating calls or sending texts using unknown codes from your phone number.
- Enhance Smartphone Security: Implement robust security measures, such as passcodes or biometric authentication, to safeguard your device.
- Guard Sensitive Information: Never disclose sensitive information, including OTPs, to unknown callers posing as representatives from your service provider.
Vigilance and adherence to these safety measures are crucial in thwarting the call forwarding scam, protecting your financial and personal information from cybercriminals. Stay alert to ensure you don’t fall victim to this growing menace.
Thanks & Regards – Seema Kanojiya