Cellphone Fraud

Spring 2008 CSANews Issue 66  |  Posted date : May 24, 2008.Back to list

In recent years, cellular phone security has improved remarkably. Yet there are still instances in which cellphones and cellphone usage can become the target of fraudulent scams. Two such examples are subscriber fraud and cellphone cloning. Subscriber fraud is another form of identity theft. This occurs when a subscriber signs up for service with illegally obtained customer information or false identification. The charges for the cellphone and for any calls that are made on this phone are then billed to the person whose name is on the account. Cellphone cloning occurs when a cellphone number and electronic serial number (ESN) are "stolen" by perpetrators who illegally monitor radio wave transmissions from the cellphones of legitimate subscribers. After the cloning takes place, both the legitimate and fraudulent cellphones have the same phone number and ESN, thus making it impossible for cellular systems to distinguish between the cloned cellphone and the legitimate one. The legal user is then billed for the calls made by the cloned cellphone.

To prevent cellphone fraud, always ensure that you keep your personal information as private as possible: shred any documents that contain personal information, such as bank statements and cheque stubs, and refrain from carrying your social insurance card in your wallet. Consider purchasing a new digital cellphone, as these are more difficult to clone than analog phones. If you think that you have been the target of a cellphone scam, contact your cellphone provider immediately.