Digital Phone Company in England has revealed, "Millions of mobile phone users are being subjected to a new wave of money making scams currently being carried out by a number of rouge agents set on taking advantage on the curiosity of the individuals they target."
As a result of this scam, a colleague ended up chalking a bill S$1581. He cancelled his mobile phone line subsequently.
Another colleague shared, "I received [an] sms saying I'd won US$80K, and to call back a China [number] for instructions on how to get the prize. Very tempting, and I'm sure some people would have fallen for the scam."
Digital Phone Company recommends, "The best way to prevent this scam is to apply caution, and only return missed calls to those numbers you recognise. And remember, if someone is genuinely trying to get hold of you, they’ll call again."
My view is that the problem has more to do with the way we use our mobile phone numbers.
Many people today give out their mobile phone numbers indiscriminately. They participate in marketing promotions such as lucky draws with these numbers. They also join other mailing lists with such numbers.
These lists are later sold for profit and eventually end up being used for dubious purposes.
Individuals must take steps to protect their privacy. Disclose your mobile phone numbers only if necessary.
Limit such disclosure to friends and family only.
You can also disclose it to reputable or credible organisation with clearly-defined policies about how your phone number will be used, or financial institutions which may need to get in touch with you for urgent transactions.
If you need to disclose phone numbers to any other party, use your land line number.
Most importantly, if your mobile phone number has been compromised, do yourself a favour - change it or get rid of it.