Beware of predators in the guise of information seekers


This afternoon I got a call from a sweet female voice. The girl claimed to have called from a nationalised bank and wanted to give me a good news. When I looked at the phone screen again I found that the number from where she is calling resembles the district code and also the area code of the central area of our city. When I concentrated again in her message she told me that my “son” had participated in a drawing competition and the bank authorities would like to come over to my home to present the certificate. I told her that I don’t have any son ! The voice from over the line politely confirmed “no it is your child”. I knew the whole episode is going to set another example of probable phishing activity or simple phone harassment and I grew more interested to learn how she did her home work. I firmly told there is no possibility of such participation from my “child”; she quizzed me on whether my child studies in the same school (she did very good homework regarding this), whether my house bears the same number (well she gets the full mark here to) and whether my husband is Jaishankar (full marks again) or not.. For a second I was dumbstruck… such a good home work !!!! I said “good, so you seem to know me so well .. now what do you want”?  The voice, which became a little shaky, said “we want to know when will you have free time so that we can come over” ? I stated “you can always see me here with my full battalion. And if you need any specific information why don’t you try calling my husband”? She was visibly taken aback and cut off the phone.
My dear readers, have you ever encountered such situations? I am not surprised by the informations this caller had gathered regarding my child’s school, my home address or even my own phone number; for in the era of informations technology, almost all of us are ‘open books’ about ourselves. I keep my Facebook, Orkut and Twitter accounts absolutely private; beyond my virtual friends, who are over 3 or 4 years old in having friendship with me, I don’t discuss anything about my child’s activities.  But you are bound to get shocks and even more shocks when these well kept ‘private’ informations are well ‘digested’ by strangers from various cloud sources; which may include friends of our ‘close friends’, postings in group walls of social networking sites, blog feeds about ourselves, emails and messages which may have been accessed from the recipient’s accounts if the said account is unauthorisedly monitored or hacked, or even phone hacking which is becoming tremendously popular now a days. Frightening…..isn’t it? For a moment I feared are they going to kidnap my child? Well, any mother would think so when the information about the child reaches back to the mother in polished or unpolished manner.  The next moment I knew what is was likely about, especially when I called back the number and I got to hear that this number is provided by some other private service provider and not the regular government supported telecom service provider. Praise the intelligence of the racket leader; the number which is being used in this fraud game is so accurately chosen that any layman would believe that this is from a land line telephone connection and may also be from the same “office” from where the caller claimed to have called.
What could be the result if I would have given the details of my stay at home? Well.. any unwanted thing could happen if such details are divulged; theft or  robbery, when the house is empty; forceful breaking in and physical assault, even rape of the woman of the house if the mischief mongers target a silent and lonely afternoon; physical phishing attack, i.e, the mischief monger comes over to house in the guise of a sales man or low level corporate staff and induces the inmate of the house to part with money by promising some good fortune or by handing over fraudulent certificate etc,.   

  Since past two three years, criminologists, researchers in the behavioural patterns of information technology users, lawyers etc have started vehement campaigning about related dangers that can happen from the excessive and unmonitored usage of  geo-location features  in the social networking sites such Facebook and also Google maps etc. Not to forget, one of the executing ‘device’ for creating/producing such dangerous situations can be the poor little hand phone also. In my book Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. ISBN: 978-1-60960-830-9 , I had stated that the third type of crime that can affect women especially besides non-sexually crimes and sexual crimes, is cyber assisted offline crimes (pg 20). This has been proved repeatedly………………….and I vouch from my own experiences now.       

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “Beware of predators in the guise of information seekers through phones ”, 24th April,2012, published in

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