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*401* Call Forwarding Scam | Everything You Need to Know | Scam Alert

Updated: May 9


Call Forwarding Scam Alert

In an alarming alert of cyber threats, scammers are now deploying sophisticated call forwarding scams to target smartphone users. Operating under the guise of customer service representatives from mobile or internet service providers, these fraudsters aim to exploit unsuspecting individuals, urging them to dial specific codes, often starting with *401*. This seemingly innocent action, however, triggers call forwarding, diverting all incoming calls directly to the scammer's phone.


Telecom giants like Reliance Jio and Airtel have issued warnings, alerting users to the rise of call-forwarding scams. As these cybercriminals become more adept, it is crucial for smartphone users to understand the intricacies of this deceptive scheme.


What Exactly is a Call Forwarding Scam?


The call forwarding scam involves scammers posing as customer service representatives, reaching out to smartphone users under the pretense of addressing issues such as mobile internet problems, account security concerns, or SIM card malfunctions. To establish trust, they propose a quick fix—dialing a specific number, often prefixed with *401*. This seemingly innocent step, unbeknownst to the victim, activates call forwarding to the scammer's number, granting them unauthorized access to the victim's calls and potentially intercepting voice OTPs.


Scammer Strategies Revealed


Scammers employ various convincing pretexts, such as investigating mobile internet or broadband issues, alleging a compromised account, or reporting problems with the SIM card. Once trust is gained, the scammer provides a seemingly straightforward solution, instructing the victim to dial a specific number, usually beginning with *401*. In reality, the fraudster is initiating call forwarding to a number under their control.


By utilizing the code *401* followed by a phone number, scammers activate call forwarding, redirecting incoming calls to their device. This enables them to attempt unauthorized logins to various accounts, including messaging apps and bank accounts. Moreover, the call forwarding feature allows scammers to receive voice One-Time Passwords (OTPs) sent to the victim's phone.


The Silent Danger


A significant risk associated with this scam is the victim's unawareness of call forwarding. Since all incoming calls are rerouted to the number specified by the scammer, the victim's phone remains silent, making it exceedingly challenging to detect the fraudulent activity.


Guarding Against Financial Loss


The primary motivation behind these call forwarding scams is financial gain. Scammers aim to pilfer money by gaining unauthorized access to accounts and sensitive information. While banks employ robust security measures, cyber attackers exploit vulnerabilities in smartphone users' practices, potentially compromising accounts, including WhatsApp and more.


How to Safeguard Yourself

  1. Avoid Dialing Codes or Responding to SMS: Refrain from dialing codes or responding to text messages from unknown sources, as scammers frequently use these methods to activate call forwarding.

  2. Enhance Phone Security: Implement passcodes or biometric authentication methods to secure your smartphone, thwarting unauthorized access.

  3. Guard Against Sharing Sensitive Information: Never share sensitive information, such as OTPs, with unknown callers claiming to represent your ISP or mobile network provider. Always verify their identity before divulging any data.

As scams evolve in sophistication, it is imperative for smartphone users to remain vigilant. By adopting these protective measures, individuals can fortify themselves against call forwarding scams and safeguard their personal and financial information. Stay informed and exercise caution to thwart the deceptive tactics employed by cybercriminals.

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