Scams on the Go
Date Added: Feb. 13, 2003
Telephone fraud and scams have been around for years, and the rapid growth of wireless communications make it ripe for the picking. This letter takes a popular e-mail warning about land lines and combines it with some impressing-sounding technobabble and an official-sounding tone.
A well known telephone scam is now being used on cellular telephones. There is a fraudulent company that is using a device to gain access to the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card, which contains all subscriber related data (this is the brains in the phone) in your cellular telephone. A scam artist places a call to an unsuspecting person and the caller says he or she is testing mobile (cellular) telephone circuits or equipment. The called party is asked to press #90 or #09. If this happens END THE CALL IMMEDIATELY with out pressing the numbers. Once you press #90 or #09 the company can access your SIM Card and makes calls at your expense.
In October, 2003, a simpler, yet more specific version began circulating in the UK. This time, it's alleged that the scammer will initially contact you with a text message offering cash or prizes.
Please take note...
If you receive a text message on your mobile from the number 15477 Indicating that you have won a 2 night stay in the Druid's Marriott In Wicklow, saying that they you must reply with the text "#90" or #09"
You Should delete this text immediately and not reply. This is a fraud Company using a device, that once you press #90 or #09 and reply text, they Can access your "SIM" card and make calls at your expense.
For years, chain letters have warned readers of a scam to dupe you into turning your phone over to some criminal who will run up charges on your bill. The original 90# scam was real, but the e-mail warning about it contained many errors. Primarily, the scam was targeted to business and only applied to Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems that require users to dial 9 or 9-0 to get an outside line. Since this letter builds on the original and tries to apply the exact same scam to mobile phones, it is hard to believe it's accurate.
Some cell phone experts I consulted said that such a scam would have been possible with older phone technology, but that the systems currently in use are much harder to hack. Nevertheless, you should definitely be wary of any caller that asks you to perform specific tasks or provide information over the phone. The cellular phone network is very sophisticated and can certainly be tested without your participation. Likewise, it's highly unlikely you can win a contest you didn't knowingly enter (and, even if it did happen, the prize is not likely to be as free as you're led to believe).
Fraud is a real threat and can be perpetrated with or without your knowledge abd participation. The notion that, with a simple piece of advice, you can protect yourself from would-be thieves is a common element of urban legends and incredibly misleading. Your only defense against fraud is awareness, but awareness does not come from relying on one source, especially an anonymously authored and randomly forwarded chain letter. Break this Chain!