The Enforcement Directorate in its chargesheet related to the money laundering case against Jacqueline Fernandez has mentioned that the Bollywood actress got “spoofed” by a conman named Sukesh Chandrashekhar. The ED said that the conman had spoofed phone calls to fool Fernandez into believing that the call came from the office of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The conman became “friends” with the actress by spoofing phone calls from Shah’s office.
Mobile number spoofing has been a popular means for scammers to connect with influential people. This scam started around 2004 and required technical skills to spoof a phone number. But things have become easy now due to VoIP. There are paid software and online services that can get the job done for anyone without any tech background. Also, there’s another concept called orange boxing which can be used for specific targets.
What is mobile number spoofing
Spoofing is simply a method of manipulating the caller ID information to make the victim believe that a call has been made by a particular person or place. This scam is not something new and in several kidnapping cases worldwide, criminals have used mobile number spoofing techniques to make the victim’s family believe that they are making the bounty call from inside their home using the landline number.
Not just for crime, spoofing is also used to prank people into believing that they have got a call from some celebrity. Spoofing has been around for years and there’s really no full-proof solution to stay safe from such calls. The only way around is to avoid calls from phone numbers that are not saved in your contacts.
Mobile number spoofing is also used by law enforcement agencies to track criminals or get intel on specific people. Spoofing can simply be seen as a way to ‘phish’ people on voice calls. It’s like if you are able to convince a victim that a particular call that they have received is from the police station or a politician’s office then there’s a lot of personal information that can be tapped by a scammer.
How does mobile number spoofing scam works
Using software based on VoIP, the scammer fools the called ID of your mobile to show a different phone number that you are familiar with. With this, you can easily manipulate the caller ID to show a local landline number from Mumbai while the call is actually made from US over VoIP.
If calls are made from weird looking phone numbers or numbers that do not start with +91 then it is quite possible that the person will not receive the call. Spoofing simply offers familiarity with a phone number. For starters, you must have seen several telemarketing calls appear as local numbers or mobile numbers.
Orange boxing: The technique that may have tricked Jacqueline Fernandez
Orange boxing is a slightly complicated process for spoofing mobile numbers. While the ED hasn’t revealed much information about how Jacqueline Fernandez got spoofed, it is likely that the conman used orange boxing.
According to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, “Orange boxing is the method of using software to generate an audio signal that is then paired with the telephone line during the call. The purpose is to make the recipient think there is an incoming call waiting from the spoofed number even though no one is calling.” In this scam, there’s a second person involved who pretends to be the secondary caller on the line.
How to stay safe from mobile number spoofing
There’s no anti-virus solution that can help stay safe from spoofing. Caller-ID apps can also be tricked, so, there isn’t any full-proof method. The only way to stay safe is to ignore calls from unknown numbers for the first time. Also, always remember if something is too good to be true then it is probably. Like for example, suddenly getting a call from the prime minister or Elon Musk. And even if you believe that you can get a call from any prominent personality then don’t reveal too much information about yourself. Not to forget, if the caller tells you to press any numbers during a call then be highly suspicious and disconnect immediately.
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