Phone number spoofing in India

Cyber crime

A friend of mine recently started receiving calls and Whatsapp messages from random numbers. When he received the call, the people on the other end would say they received a call from this number. On Whatsapp he would receive messages from random numbers like “who’s this?”, “where are you from?” etc, basically messages where people are trying to get to know him. He formatted the phone, reinstalled Whatsapp, contacted his service provider’s customer care but nothing helped. He even went to cops who weren’t aware of any scam as such.

So I started digging on this, following are the possible things which made sense to me.

Phone number Spoofing -
Ya that is a real thing, for example take a look at this link.

If you open the link, this is the webpage you land on, so in a nutshell, you can enter a phone number (A), enter a destination phone number (B) and add a spoof phone number (C). By doing so the phone number B would receive a call from phone number A but it would show up as phone number C. This explains why people were calling my friends phone number even though he didn’t call them, so someone was spoofing my friends phone number using one of such services and there are millions of such services available online. The saddest part is you cannot track them.

This explains half of the story what about the Whatsapp messages?
Whatsapp has this option to create a link to any phone number. Follow this link to know more — Whatsapp FAQ

Actual whatsapp message received from other users who contacted my friend on Whatsapp

By following the link you can create a link to any phone number with any message you want and share to anyone and that is how random people ended up contacting my friend on Whatsapp.

Now how can we solve this?
Unfortunately there is no solution for this problem.
To solve the call spoofing only solution would be to deactivate the number.
Regarding whatsapp spoofing only person who could take action on this is Whatsapp.
If they could add a OTP verification for creating this link this would have never happened.

If you are reading this please do the same, tweet Whatsapp until it actually reaches them. I could have contacted them to fix this issue but I’m pretty sure I would be unheard. People together can make the difference.

What is the scenario now?
Couple of days back when my friend tried to use his Whatsapp, his number was blocked by Whatsapp. He was not allowed to login. Probably Whatsapp would have deactivated his number since many people would have reported his number as a scam. He tried to contact cops and they weren’t aware of any such scam, they just asked him to deactivate the number. He is going to deactivate the number.

Conclusion?
Please don’t share you contact number on social platforms or anywhere unnecessary for that matter. Say your number can be spoofed randomly by entering a random phone number by chance where the probability is very less but say if someone really wanted to target you, they can do it easily if they know your phone number. The worst part is since everything is linked to our phone number from our Banks to Cab services, changing the phone number is a big hazel. It’s better to take action now rather than repenting in the future.

Hope this gives a sneak peak about phone number spoofing. Share with your friends and family and create awareness.

Cheers!

UI Developer ( App Developer ) @quizizz, ping me @surajmdurgad