17 May 2012
Come, let me share it with you.
Early this morning there was a call on my mobile phone from a number not on my contacts list. The call disconnected after just a couple of rings, before I could pick it up. Calls early in the morning (and late at night) are often from someone looking for help. Heck, people do change numbers. So, I returned the call.
To my surprise, it was answered in Hindi by someone identifying himself as Jai Prakash from Airtel. Apparently, he had called earlier to inform that I had won a 25Lac lottery (aha, this was new, I had received many such fraudulent e-mails but never a phone call !) and he would provide me his supervisor’s phone number which I would have to call to obtain details. I disconnected immediately. Boy oh boy. I noted down the caller number +92-34166-87801.
I called up the Airtel helpline to report the scam. The executive patiently heard me out (probably the zillionth time she was hearing such a complaint ?) and double checked if the caller number began with 92. I requested that Airtel ought to do something to protect customers from such fraud. She replied that while they want to, they were unable to block such incoming calls and my only recourse was to add my mobile number to their “Do Not Disturb” list. She was empathetic, I ended the call.
Coincidentally, my mobile had always been on the DoT’s “Do Not Call” registry and it was only recently that I had voluntarily moved out of it. Does this imply, that like many sales callers, these scamsters are also somehow able to identify mobile numbers that have moved out of the “Do Not Call” registry ? Or, was it a simple sequential hit-and-miss and my number’s turn had come now ?
A quick Google search of ISD codes returns the caller country as, Pakistan !
And there are plenty of similar experiences shared – examples here, here and here. Just try “calls from +923” in a Google search to gauge the extent of the scam.
There is always another sucker.