Sunday, September 11, 2011

Story of a Telephone Fraud

Telephone frauds do happen around the globe. One of my students at English School shared this story with me. Her mother was victimized by a telemarketer. Her mother is a regular customer of a very popular grocery store in the city. One day, she received a call from a telemarketer who identified herself working as a Customer Service Associate for this grocery store. She said that the Mom won a family vacation to a famous beach resort in Phuket. Her mother was so excited to hear it. She was asked for her nationality ID number, which is like equivalent to a Social Security number. She gave it. As their conversation went on, she was then asked for her credit card number to deduct a "claim" fee for the prize. Her mother almost gave it had it not been for her Aunt who decided otherwise to confirm first with the grocery store about this promotion. Her mother just told the caller that she will call back after checking with the grocery store. The caller still tried to persuade her but her aunt got the phone and talked with the telemarketer. They did verify with the grocery and found that there is no promotion of that sort going on except for some grocery coupons which customers are readily given at the cashier when they pay for their purchases.

My student told me that they wanted to verify the phone number but they do not know how. They tried seeking help from the telephone company but it said that although it gets the name of the purchaser of the sim card, it does not totally help victims because when they had an incident like this before, it turned out that the person who bought the sim card presented a fake nationality ID. Nevertheless, the company's till gave the name of the number's owner. When they sough help from the police, the police found out that nobody in that name is existing in the country.

I told my student that in the U.S., there is a site that helps private citizens verify phone numbers. I told her about We can only wish one is available in her country as well. I advised her what to do the next time they get the same calls in the future. I read a lot about these kinds of frauds and the practical tips one can do to protect himself from being victimized. I hope in the near future, more people will be protected by such frauds and crimes. I hope that more people will be aware of these crimes and be equipped with necessary means not to become victims.

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