Cellular fraud is defined as ‘the unauthorised use, tampering or manipulation of a cellular phone or service”, according to the Federal Communication Commission.
The use of mobile phones is increasing. The use of mobile fraud increases accordingly.
‘SMiShing’ or ‘Smishing’ is usually an alarmist text sent to your mobile telephone, saying things such as: ‘There is a problem with your account’, or ‘Your card needs re-activiating’.
The message works on one’s emotions, usually placed at a busy time of the day. The objective is to get you to respond to the text.
‘Return call fraud’
One way the fraud can work is that if you reply, you will be charged at a huge premium rate.
‘Passive Interrogation Information Extraction fraud’
Another way a fraud can work is that you are directed to a normal local telephone number where you are asked a series of security questions which the fraudster will then use to establish credit accounts in the victim’s name, but usually changed to a different address: the address of the fraudster.
‘Subscriber mobile phone fraud’
Personal information is obtained fraudulently, and the fraudster then opens new mobile phone accounts charging it to the victim. When the victim receives a huge bill, he/she then has some explaining to do to the network service provider.
What to do if you think you have been the victim of fraud
1. Contact the Police by dialling 101, or go to your local Police Station;
2. Contact your local service provider;
3. Contact your Bank and let them know you think you have been the victim of fraud;
4. Review all direct debits and standing orders and delete that which you have it authorised;
How to prevent such frauds
1. Do not reply to messages you are not expecting;
2. Never give your personal information/ details unless you made the call to a known telephone number;
3. Do not reply to emails you are not expecting of an alarmist nature;
4. Regularly look at your Bank Account Statement, and consider whether there are any anomalies such as payments made without your authority;
5. Regularly carry out your own credit reference check to see if in your name, new accounts have been opened.
David Rosen is Partner and head of Litigation at Darlingtons Solicitors, a working member of the Fraud Advisory Panel, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and a visiting associate Professor of Law at Brunel University.
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