Telephone Harassment

Prepaid SIM cards are convenient, and there is no doubt that a lot of people in this planet have gained great benefit from them. Some countries have imposed a law that all prepaid SIM cards must be registered to the telco so that they (the authorities) can track down criminals and people who are misusing this service.

But how far does it get implemented? For example I have a DiGi prepaid number with the previous owner still registered to it. When I call customer support, they call me by the person’s name. But that’s a small matter because I am not a bad person.

What pisses me off lately is people calling me to advertise their services and products, as well as fraudulent text messages with the intention of tricking people to subscribe to their services. One amazing thing is that about 90% of them are not even afraid to show off their numbers (not having caller ID restricted).

My question is that to who do I report these annoying activities, and do the telcos actually care?

It’s immoral.

Dirty Promotion Techniques By Mobile Content Providers

More on unwanted text messages via cellphones.

I received a text message from 012 835 3906:

“Jon, video U dgn Jane disebarkan. Cuba htr ON MX ke 36660 skrg. Free reg,tolong jgn pass ke org.Very urgent pls help! Jane call i tadi sampai kelam kabut takut.”

Translation: “Jon, your video with Jane has been leaked. Try send ON MX to 36660 now. Free registration, please do not pass to others. Very urgent! Jane just called me, she is scared and freaked out.”

I remembered hearing something about ON MX in a TV commercial. This is one dirty trick where a pervert or someone looking for “interesting” videos would send in the command and be subscribed to this particular content provider.

I admit the company have a good idea to do this scam, but then again it’s still a dirty trick and I disapprove.

I really hope Maxis or any other telcos will take action to prevent these kind of trick to the consumers. Then again, it’s Malaysia. I tried sending an SMS-to-email via Maxis’ 1503 gateway and have yet to receive anything. 😐

MasterCard/Visa Promotion Fraud Attempt #2

Back in January I wrote about an attempt to squeeze my credit card numbers by a caller using a private number.

On July 4th, I received a call from 016 336 8916 but since I have my phone on private mode they were not able to reach me. However a couple of minutes later they sent me a text message: “Hello mr/mrs Ady Romantika. I’m Ros from Visa/master card voucher department. Because of your loyalty to us, you are entitled for complimentary vouchers. Please come to our office with your spouse to collect your vouchers. Unit 515, Level 5, Block E, Phileo Damansara 1, No. 9, Jalan 16/11, Off Jalan Damansara, 46350 Petaling Jaya Selangor. Please come anytime from Monday to Sunday between 3pm to 8pm. Please also allow us at least 45mins of your time. Thank you and see you soon.”

It was a long text message indeed. I sent them a reply that they are scammers, and they were bold enough to reply me. Their message now have been sent to the Royal Malaysian Police and the media via email. I am unsure whether any action will be taken to investigate it but I shall wait and see.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there is no logical chance that Mastercard and Visa are running a promotion together. I am pretty sure if I show up they will ask me for my credit cards and take the chance to copy the numbers, expiries, and CVV/CV2 numbers. Then they are free to use my credit cards online.

For the less cautious this might be a trap they might easily fall into. Beware!

MasterCard/Visa Promotion Fraud Attempt

What great way to start 2008 with a pile of money obtained from other people’s credit cards? I am writing to share my experience today.

I am lucky I am not that stupid although I didn’t realize an obvious bit earlier during the call. By the way the call came is as “Private”

Caller: Is this Mr. Ady Romantika?
Me: Speaking.
Caller: My name is XXXX from MasterCard and Visa customer support. You have been selected to receive a discount card for purchases using your MasterCard and Visa. You will receive up to 30% of discount. The reason we do this is to help make sure our good customers will not be burdened by credit card debts.
Me: I am lucky so please send the discount card to my house. What do you need?
Caller: We need to verify your details
Me: OK, shoot.
Caller: Which bank’s credit card do you use? (At this point I started to be suspicious)
Me: Bank A, Bank B, and Bank C
Caller: Can you give me the expiry dates of each card?
Me: XXYY, XXYY, XXYY (I was dumb)
Caller: OK can you tell me each card is Visa or MasterCard?
Me: MasterCard, Visa, MasterCard.
Caller: OK. For the Bank B card, it starts with XXXX right?
Me: Yes.
Caller: The next number is Y, right? What’s the next number, A or B?
Me: A (I know, dumb again)
Caller: And then? (At this moment I know she is going to ask me the whole credit card number)
Me: Right, so I can’t even authenticate you and you expect me to give me my whole credit card number. Next you’re going to ask me my 3 digit CV2 code?
… She hung up …

You see, even though the caller did know the first digit of my credit card number it does not prove anything. The prefix number of Visa is always 4, and the next 4 digits is assigned to the financial institution issuing the card. It’s no mystery.

In this case I should have realized that she is a fraud when she said she’s from Visa & MasterCard customer support. Those 2 are different organizations, so it’s not logical they share the same customer support.

Notice how she tried to be as technical, procedural, and as patient as possible to get me convinced.

I hope that I didn’t go too far by providing bank names and expiry dates! If anyone from Maxis (my provider) is reading this and is interested to track the call (if possible) I am more than willing to help. Maybe in the telco side private numbers are recorded? And since all phones should be registered it should not be that difficult to lodge a police report?

This kind of people deserves to be awarded some free years at the “big mansion”. Be careful people!!!

Local Ponzi Schemes Sprouting Everywhere

I don’t know about you but since several past weeks I have been receiving emails that claims to make you rich. Almost everyday, yeah. The unique thing about these emails are that they are in Malay, and originating from Malaysia and Singapore.

So far I can easily classify these emails into a few categories:

  • Mobile Wallet – pay as low as RM100 to them, activate your account via SMS and you can sell mobile products such as prepaid reloads. How can you be sure that they will not just take your RM100 and flee?
  • Easy Funds – pay some money, refer friends, and be paid. Ponzi!!!
  • Money pools – participate in a money pool. Pay about RM52 and be in the run for the jackpot of RM60,000+
  • Email Referrals – refer people via email and get paid.
  • Classic Ponzi or Matrix System – nothing special about this one. Everyone knows how a pyramid or matrix system will end.

Almost all of these emails claimed that you can be a millionaire in a couple of months if you join them. Are you kidding me?

One word of advice, it is better if you keep your money for something useful or invest it in a Government certified fund.

I know the Malaysian Securities Commission has been actively blocking many foreign sites for offering fraudulent investment programs, but I wonder how are they going to handle these which are originating from the country itself. Despite of warnings issued by the Government the number of people who fell into these traps are still surprisingly high. And when they realize what actually has happened they will blame the Government. Duh!…