3G, 4G mobile scam
The recent announcements of upgrading to third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) of mobile telecommunications technology are also being exploited by criminals to deceive people into believing that their family members have been kidnapped, following which demands for ransom are made. The story of an alleged victim circulating on the internet has been reproduced below:
“I received a call from someone claiming that he was from my mobile service provider and he asked me to shut down my phone for two hours for 3G update to take place. As I was rushing for a meeting, I did not question, but just shut down my cell phone.
“After 45 minutes I felt very suspicious, since the caller had not even introduced himself. I quickly turned on my cell phone and saw several missed calls from my family members and the others were from the number that had called me earlier. I called my parents and I was shocked that they sounded very worried, asking me whether I was safe. My parents told me that they had received a call from someone claiming that they had me with them and asking for money to let me free. The call was real and my parents even heard my voice crying out loud asking for help.
“My father was at the bank waiting for the next call to proceed for money transfer. I told my parents that I was safe and asked them to lodge a police report. Right after that I received another call from the guy asking me to shut down my cell phone for another hour, which I refused to do and hung up. They kept calling my cell phone until the battery run down. I myself lodged a police report and was informed by the officer that many such scams had been reported.
“Most of the cases reported that the victim had already transferred the money. And it is impossible to get it back. Be careful, as this kind of scam might happen to any of us. Those guys are so professional and very convincing during the calls. If you are asked to shut down your cell phone for updates by the service provider, ask around. Your family or friends might have received the same call. Be safe and stay alert. Please pass this message to your family and friends. If you receive calls from the country codes 375 (Belarus) or 371 (Latvia), disconnect it. If you call back one of those numbers, you are charged $15 to $30, and they can copy your contact list in three seconds. If you have bank or credit card details on your phone, they can copy that too.”