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Be Careful on How You List Contacts in Your Cell Phone

[I got a forwarded email warning me regarding a stolen cell phone. I think the scenario presented is very plausible, though I’m not sure if it actually occurred. I guess it’s a bit of common sense when you read it, but as I did, you’d probably be unaware of the potential fraud that can occur from the simple stuff like naming your contact lists.]

Be careful when you list names on your cell phone! Be Safe!

This lady has changed her habit of how she lists her contacts on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her mobile phone, credit card, purse, etc., was stolen and 20 minutes later she managed to call her hubby from a payphone to tell him what had happened. Her hubby says, "I've just received your SMS text asking about our PIN number. I replied a little while ago." They rushed down to the bank and the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The pickpocket had actually used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the PIN number. Within 20 minutes, he had withdrawn all the money from the bank account.

The lesson:

- Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list.
- Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mum, etc.
- And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.

Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet "family and friends" who text you.

[I think the story was a bit off since there is a limit on how much money can be withdrawn from ATMs on any given day. So, unless the couple had little in their account or a special higher withdrawal limit, it’d not be possible to entirely withdraw the account in just 20 minutes. Further, a very much likely scenario to occur would be for your phone to be temporarily ‘stolen,’ most likely by someone you knew. And then, that person can do ‘harmless’ stuff (like peeping through your text messages) to something criminal (like searching for important data such as PINs) before ‘returning’ the phone back to you. I guess that phone lock is not just for securing keypad.]

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