=> LAHORE: Cell phone subscribers are being subjected -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> LAHORE: Cell phone subscribers are being subjected

LAHORE: Cell phone subscribers are being subjected to fraud, in an organised manner, throughout the country under which they are informed about winning a cash prize for which they only have to pay a minor sum in the shape of scratch card numbers.

Swindlers are using different cellular companies promotional schemes and call up both pre-paid and post-paid users and inform them that they have won a particular prize. After trapping a mobile phone user, these swindlers ask for cards of different values so that the use can claim the prize money. These swindlers are also using different cellular companies’ connections on fake names and send SMS to users whereby they transfer the balance of users into their accounts.

Such fraud has been continuing across the country for the last couple of months, but so far no company has taken any action. A subscriber of Mobilink was subjected to such fraud on Tuesday in which a swindler applied the same tactic. Since the subscriber was aware of these frauds, the fraudster failed in his attempt.

The subscriber, Hammad, informed the News that he received an SMS, saying “Congratulation, sir you have win Rs one million cash prize in Jazz Malla Mall Scheme.” The subscriber received the phone call from two unknown mobile phone numbers.

The man at the other end introduced himself to Hammad as Syed Farooq Shah, managing director of the prize scheme. After announcing “the good news,” Farooq asked Hammad to provide the card numbers of three scratch cards worth Rs100 each. Quoting the company’s policy, Farooq asked Hammad to collect the one million rupees prize money and provide three Mobilink cards worth Rs100 each.

“You buy the cards from a shop and then call me back on this number and tell me the cards’ numbers, then I will inform you about the cheque number of your prize money which will be later transferred to your bank account”, Farooq said.

When Hammad called him back on a landline number, Farooq asked him to call from the companyís mobile number because it was the company’s policy as the number would occur on a computer. Now Hammad is using another mobile phone company’s number to call back to Farooq for further inquiry. Farooq judged that Hammad was wise enough and would not be trapped and informed Hammad to press a particular number which was actually a call barring code service provided by the mobile phone company.

Hammad is unaware of this service, so all his calls have been restricted. Then Hammad called the mobile phone companyÂ’s helpline service and a customer service representative informed him that he has used the call barring facility and told him the code to deactivate the call barring number. After deactivating, Hammad call back to Farooq Shah and asked him why he had given the wrong code. After receiving Hammad’s call, Farooq put it on hold.

Talking to The News, Hammad said he called up Farooq to get maximum information to inform the mobile phone company about the fraudster’s modus operandi. “I have called up the companyís helpline to inform about the whole case to a customer service representative to take action”, he said. “But the representative said she was unable to take action and transferred the call to her head.”

He said during discussion with the helpline head, he came to know that the fraud was continuing at a massive scale. Hammad added: “The helpline head said the company is unable to do anything against such activities and has published advertisements in newspapers warning people against the fraud.” When Hammad insisted on action against Farroq Shah, the helpline head said an inquiry against the number had been initiated, Hammad informed.

Later, this reporter contacted Farooq to inquire about the scheme, he said he should be called from a landline number to seek information. When asked about the office, Farooq said it was situated on the second floor of Kalssom Plaza in Blue Area, Islamabad. When he was asked to name some senior officials, he said there were many rooms in the office and no one knew about others, not even the CEOÂ’s name.

When contacted, Manager Public Relations of Mobilink Omar Manzur said Mobilink had run an awareness advertisement and media briefing campaign to inform customers about the importance of their scratch card numbers and not to share these confidential details with unauthorised callers.

“We maintain a database of such callers and have the numbers blocked. If the culprits contact us for restoration of their numbers, they are advised to submit an apology with a copy of their original NIC at any of our offices along with returning the balance to the rightful users”, hesaid.

Answering another question, he said as soon as such a complaint is reported to us, we immediately verify the claim from our system. If the complaint is found to be true, we get the number blocked and update it in our database.

Source: The News
Date:1/16/2008