Call forwarding and other pranks with other people’s numbers

Another illustration to the thesis about the vulnerability of a telephone number, as well as the possible consequences of personal information falling into the wrong hands. This time we are talking about a popular call forwarding service, the “creative” use of which can greatly ruin the life of an innocent person.

The reader sent a letter with a link to an interesting text in Vkontakte, you can read the original here. The piquancy of the situation is that only its author can stop a running “pod”, and unwillingly participating in all this cellular operators can not do anything or do not want to. Below are the main quotes with comments from this informative material.

How to redirect collectors

“My former employee took loans and set a call forward from his number to mine. Now collectors are calling me.

This method was revealed to me on February 13, when dozens of collectors from the Moscow region began to receive calls to my phone number, which is used as the main incoming one for our web studio (corporate SIM card “Megafon”).

The calls were very different, from a bank with the letter “t” to small companies, in the name of which the word “loan” always flaunts and there is a prefix “micro”.

After talking with a couple of collectors, I managed to find out that a certain citizen Buikov O.N. (Name changed) has collected loans and is now hiding from his creditors. To my pertinent question, why are they looking for him on my phone number, I got an amazing answer. In fact, my comrades call +7 (916) *** 72 08, but they get to +7 (962) *** 00 14. That is, call forwarding was connected to my phone number, but I’m nothing about it did not know.

Having talked to my telephone operator, by the way, I would like to note that Megafon’s support for corporate clients operates on 5 *, I found out that they cannot do anything. I was advised to contact MTS (the number from which calls are forwarded).

Having contacted the MTS hotline, I achieved nothing but eternal waiting and listening to mediocre music. “

I suspect that Artemy called the MTS contact center from the MTS phone too. If a “low-value” customer calls, then more often everything ends up listening to music, often the system does not even offer the option of talking with a live operator. And here a person has a corporate MegaFon card, and he could have had relatively few calls from MTS. They say that in such situations, a call from another operator’s SIM card helps out, in this case they pick up the phone quickly. The approach to customer calls to the contact center is approximately the same for all operators, the calls are sorted by the system by income generated and by corporate / individual. However, we went further.

“But this is the 21st century. Let’s try to chat with them on social networks, I thought.

Call forwarding and other pranks with other people's numbers

Unfortunately, the operator did not understand the essence of my problem. It is impossible to block all calls from the collectors, since the guys are calling from the redeemed pool of numbers. Blocking them all is unrealistic.

Indeed, trying to blacklist multiple collector numbers is useless. Alternatively, a whitelist, which allows calls only from numbers in the address book, but at the same time there is a risk of missing an important call from an unfamiliar number.

After some time, they still understood me, registered my appeal and asked to wait. In 20 minutes the answer came … “Unfortunately, we have to refuse, since you are not the owner of the number from which the calls are forwarded.”

It sounds logical, because I have no right to manage other people’s services. But what about logic? After all, calls from this number are redirected to me! After discussing a couple more details with the operator, I got the following answer:

Call forwarding and other pranks with other people's numbers

That is, confirmation from the other party to accept call forwarding is not required. And this is the funniest thing. I can unilaterally forward all my incoming messages to any phone number.

PS I quite simply found my joker, since I have a corporate SIM card, I climbed into the company’s employee base and found that in 2019 such a person worked for us, unfortunately, to communicate and find out why he harbored a grudge , I did not succeed”.

I dare to suggest that the “wrecker” who got into debt bondage did not plan this event with readdressing in advance, it just happened that way. Indirect confirmation – the mentioned calls from the collectors of microfinance organizations, as a rule, this means that the person has already exhausted all methods of making money less ruinously. This also includes the fact that the person quit in 2019, and we do not know what financial obligations he already had at the time of the dismissal. And in general, the circumstances are different. Then, when the collectors started calling, a person could complain to one of his friends, and he was advised this.

Call forwarding and other pranks with other people's numbers

Image via SK Cartoons

I don’t want to fantasize, but the number of the “victim” could have been chosen randomly or almost by chance, or it could have been used deliberately, we do not know about this and are unlikely to find out. The story itself reminds us that call forwarding can be set to any number without the consent of the owner of the number, that is, as the author correctly writes, it is not so difficult to organize a person a serious headache. Trouble with collectors is not the best option, collectors will most likely give the name of the “customer”, since they are after him. However, with the appropriate ingenuity, you can come up with a lot of things in such a way that to spoil a person, while remaining unrecognized, because cellular operators sacredly observe the name of the owner of the number from which the forwarding was established. In general, you really need to make it mandatory to confirm the owner of the number to set up forwarding. True, the question of forwarding calls to landline phones remains open.

Again about the number and personal data

The situation described above is probably one of many that people have to deal with. Sometimes a person is so “fed up to the liver” that he is ready to change his phone number. But this raises the question of price. If a person paid money for his number, sometimes a lot, and even made it into property, then leaving the number due to someone’s telephone aggression is at least insulting. By the way, you can read about the prospects of the bill on “partial privatization” of the issue here. In general, a phone number is a vulnerable thing, and if the state wants (and it wants) to unambiguously bind a certain user (conditional owner) to each number, then there is still a lot of work on the side of operators, lawmakers and law enforcement officers too. I remembered a wonderful story about the victim of a beautiful number, read here. Almost 10 years have passed since then, but what has changed? Nothing much has changed. Cellular operators prefer to distance themselves, offering subscribers to solve problems themselves without their help, law enforcement officers tend to blame the official owner of the number, because it’s easier: the owner is there, on a silver platter, and you still need to look for a mysterious pest.

As for personal data, we are often to blame for their leakage. We are very indifferent to our real data, and vice versa, we often write a phone number, email or home address invented “from the bulldozer”. Not realizing that the invented numbers may turn out to be someone’s real addresses and numbers. Not so long ago, I was thrown into the mailbox with a weighty package with a set of documents for a loan. The package contained a complete dossier on the borrower, with the exception of the mailing address, which was almost mine. I suppose that sending documents by mail is a common procedure in the case when a person does not want to wait for a long processing, but wants to get his hands on money as soon as possible and run to spend it. The borrower was “ashamed” to write his exact address, he came up with a nonexistent one. Which in fact does not exist, but the street name and almost all the numbers match my address. At the post office, they approached the matter responsibly and sent a stack of documents to me as the only possible candidate for recipients. By the way, we are scolding the “Russian Post”, but they are trying, they did not throw a package with a non-existent address into the trash, but tried to deliver it all the same.

There are also jokes with email. Once upon a time, some guy from Kazakhstan lovingly made and registered a page on what social network I don’t remember anymore and also “out of modesty” indicated an email “from the bastard”, hitting my simple email of two numbers and one letter (my initials). I didn’t think that the system would ask for a confirmation email. On the second day of swotting into my mailbox, I got angry, followed the link in the letter, changed the password and wrote something like “Don’t try to use someone else’s email, enter your own” on its page.

This is me to the fact that you need to protect your own personal data as much as possible, but you should not be “shy” to indicate them at any registrations, and you certainly should not write data “from the bulldozer” instead of them. This is especially true for telephone numbers. There are many people, and a random set of numbers can easily turn out to be real. If there are reasons not to show your addresses / phone numbers, then register your kit and do not forget to keep it in working order.

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