How Scammers Get Your Mobile Number & How To Safeguard Yourself

Are Unwanted calls driving you crazy? You’re not alone. But have you ever wondered how these pesky callers got hold of your number in the first place? Let’s uncover their tricks and learn what you can do to put an end to their game.

In a world where our lives are glued to screens, the pestering buzz of unsolicited calls and texts has become a frustrating norm. Why those unfamiliar banks just won’t quit offering you credit cards? Or why you’re swamped with messages telling you to “update your KYC” or “recharge your prepaid number”? It’s like strangers know you too well, and it’s creepy.

Why Do They Keep Bugging You?

At first, these “spam” calls and texts might feel like pesky flies. But let’s dig deeper. They’re often the tip of a bigger iceberg — your personal data being mishandled. Your phone number isn’t just a bunch of digits; it’s a doorway to your secrets, like your age, where you live, and how you spend money.

How Scammers and Telemarketers Get Your Mobile Number

You might be wondering, how do scammers and telemarketers even get your mobile number in the first place? It turns out, there are a few sneaky ways they manage to do it. Let’s discuss them each:

1. Data Brokers and Leaked Databases:

Ever shared your number with an app or website? They might be selling your data to data brokers, who then compile it into massive databases. Sometimes these databases are leaked or sold to the highest bidder, giving scammers access to your number.

2. Sweepstakes and Contests:

Those tempting contests and giveaways? Some scammers use them to collect phone numbers. When you enter these contests, they grab your details and you end up on their list.

3. Online Shopping and Surveys:

Buying online or taking a survey? Be cautious. Some sites might share your info without you realizing it. That’s how your number might end up in the hands of telemarketers.

4. Hacked Websites:

If you’ve ever signed up on a website that got hacked, your details could be out in the open. Scammers use these exposed details to contact you with their schemes.

5. Social Media Scanning:

Scammers are crafty. They can crawl social media profiles and forums, picking up numbers you might’ve shared. Be careful what you put out there!

6. Random Number Generation:

Some scammers use software to generate random number combinations. If your number matches, you could become their next target.

7. Apps Asking for Too Much:

Those fun apps? Some of them ask for more permissions than they need. They might sneakily access your contact list and grab your friends’ numbers too.

8. Public Wi-Fi and Shady Networks:

Connecting to public Wi-Fi can expose your data. Scammers might intercept it and grab your number. Also, watch out for dodgy networks that mimic real ones.

The Real Shock: You’re Not in Control

Here’s the kicker: once your data is out there, your say-so doesn’t matter much. It could be sold, shared, and passed around like a hot potato. Telemarketers and even sneaky criminals might get their hands on it. Some bold callers might ask for more info, playing mind games (‘vishing’), while texts might trick you with links that snatch money from your bank.

K.P.S. Malhotra, a top cop from Delhi Police, says we need to be smart: “Before sharing secrets, everyone — from companies to regular folks — needs to think twice.” Here’s the twist: these scams are like organized heists, with crooks grabbing info from different places. Some secret databases are even chilling online, making it easy for anyone to find you and call.

Data Protection Laws? Big Problem.

Guess what? India hasn’t got a special law to guard your data, leaving a gap where responsibility should be. Without strong laws, companies can freely trade your data like playing cards. Anas Tanwir, a lawyer, spills the beans: “Nobody has to tell you what they’re doing with your data.” It’s like your secrets are out there without your OK.

Beware: Cyber Crooks Are Smarter

Cybercriminals are tech-savvy tricksters. They’ll make you spill the beans or click on dangerous links. It’s like fishing for info in emails (‘phishing’) or texts (‘smishing’). Sometimes they’ll even sweet-talk you on the phone (‘vishing’).

Numbers Don’t Lie: The Spam Epidemic

A survey shouts it out — 64% of Indians deal with multiple spam calls every day! Even if you joined the ‘Do Not Disturb’ club, those calls won’t quit. Truecaller’s report says India is in the top four countries getting hit by spam calls. We’re moving up the list, and not in a good way.

How to Fight Back: Your Defense Plan

1. Guard Your Secrets: Share less info, especially with new folks.
2. Check Their Promise: Look at what companies promise to do with your data.
3. Lock with Passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for your stuff.
4. Double Lock with 2FA: Add extra protection with two-factor authentication (2FA).
5. Don’t Fall for Links: Ignore strange links in texts or emails.
6. Update, Update: Keep your apps and phone up to date for security.
7. Know the Tricks: Learn about scams so you don’t fall for them.
8. Tell the Cops: Report suspicious calls or messages to the police.
9. Use the DND Shield: Join the ‘Do Not Disturb’ list to cut down on spam.
10. Check Your Stuff: Regularly see if your money is safe and your accounts are okay.
11. Be Data Smart: Understand what apps want before you say ‘yes’.
12. Stay Private on Wi-Fi: Use safe Wi-Fi, not public ones.
13. Trust the Familiar: Stick to apps and websites you know are safe.
14. Keep Exploring Laws: Push for better laws to keep your data safe.
15. Ask Questions: If a company wants your secrets, ask why.
16. Stay Updated: Learn about new ways to protect your privacy.

Now you’ve got the lowdown on how to keep those sneaky calls and texts at bay. It’s your data, your secrets, and your right to protect them. Keep these tips close, and you’ll be the master of your digital kingdom!

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