mobile phone cloning

  [DELETED] 22:46 09 Nov 2003

I was wondering if anyone could help me with a problem my son is having with his mobile phone?
He has learning difficulties (17 years old) and has got one o those wap phones. Well Vodafone have sent us a bill for ?800! Thay reckon he's run it all up through premium rate text messages, which have been sent and received by his handset and imei number all round the clock, basically for a month or so.

I paid ?25 to have his number changed....and it's still happening! I've put a bar on all incoming texts but they insist I have to pay this bill. Theres no way he's had those texts-he can't read or write!

I asked them if it is possible his sim has been cloned, but they say it's not.

Where do I go from here? Anyone got any ideas? Any info as soon as poss would be great.

Many thanks

  [DELETED] 23:33 09 Nov 2003

800 squid! I have just threatened to torch our much maligned cat, as Her Ladyship has run up a 60 squid moby bill..........and I get 600 mins a month free to any number. :-(((((

Anyhow putting this in perspective...

a) There is a chance that a card can be cloned, although if the phone was supplied in the last 6 monhs this is highly unlikely. I would suggest that you ask Customer Services if they can supply you with a detailed call breakdown. If they say they cannot they are telling porkies, as ALL messages are recorded to be filed for 6 years. They could always get their *cough* 'friends' at GCHQ to get off their butts and help ;-)). The fact that his new number is being texted makes me think that cloning is not the problem.

b) There is also a possibility that one of his friends has replied to one of the numerous 'd'ya wanna have your lame team's footie results texted to you?' messages or 'Hi, my name is Flossie can I text you with my wild, eye-poppin' daily diary'. This is where I would start looking.

c) Next stop Citizen's Advice, pronto. click here for your nearest.

d) 'I paid ?25 to have his number changed....and it's still happening!' would also suggest that his number is being mixed up in the billing but this would one hell of a coincidence as it was happening with his first number. This would lead me to believe that someone close to him is allowing the texts to be delivered (see b). I am not trying to be patronising but are you 100% sure that he could not be doing this? All it would involve is typing 4/6 numbers or a simple phrase. I sometimes work with teenahgers with learning difficulties and their intelligence always amazes me.

e) A polite missive sent to the Mobile phones Ombudsman click here will help. Emphasize that your son has learning difficulties and keep the complaint short and to the here
. You can phone fax or email.

If you need any help composing a letter post here, as there are many members who will be able to help. you are welcome to email me using my envelope although I will be away until monday eve.


  [DELETED] 00:07 10 Nov 2003

Thank you for that, yes I have thought of all those things and have interogated him to the point of torture (!) but he insists he has not received them, I am inclined to believe him, I have to say.
He works on a farm with adults and just wouldn't have time to reply to over 1500 texts. He has no friends his own age to borrow the phone.......I really am at my wits end with this. Perhaps someone would be able to help me compose a letter to the ombusman please? Btw, the link you kindly gave seems to be American? I am in England...


  ajm 00:32 10 Nov 2003

I was in a similar situation a few of years back. Due to my hearing impairment, i used the old analog mobile phones ( the ones that looked and felt like bricks) The phones were cloned som many times and the bills were running upto ?500 a month. BT Cellnet always deducted the amount of calls that I did not make. it was going on for about 3 years.

Digital mobile phones entered the market and that made cloning difficult/impossible. BT Cellnet decide to upgrade the phone to a digital one. But as it was not compatible with my hearing aid, i did not get one. Was without a mobile for around a year, until a nice and friendly chap at Carphone Warehouse mentioned a INDUCTION LOOP made by nokia for hearing aids users. Ever since I have had the newest and upodated Nokia Mobile phone each year, provided it had the relevant induction loop coil to go with it. Am currently uing a Nokia 6310i and plan to upgrade to the 8910i in Xmas.

  [DELETED] 01:29 10 Nov 2003

click here This will give you some more information and phone numbers and address's of people who can help.

GANDALF <|:-)> has very kindly offered to help you, and I would take up his generous offer, you will be in very capable hands.

To contact him directly, click on the yellow envelope next to his name, a box will appear, write a short message into the box and and send, he will contact you back. Good luck, I hope all turns out well for you and meanwhile please try not to worry too much. Regards. j.

  [DELETED] 08:15 10 Nov 2003

A suggestion would be to change from contract to Pay-As-You-Go, this would future proof you against this happening again.

  spuds 20:26 10 Nov 2003

As Djohn as suggested, drop an email to GANDALF,you will be in secure and capable hands.

Personally,I prefare PAYG as suggested by jimv7.Once you top-up is used, that's it,no nasty shocks afterwards.

  [DELETED] 21:46 10 Nov 2003

i have heard about and been offered these so caled BASHER sim cards that have been cloned, the sales pitch is that you buy this sim card for i think it was 50 quid (happened last year so may be old tech), and you get to use the sim for unlimited calls until the phone company clock on. So when the customer gets there bill has a mild stroke and then complains, the phone company send out a new sim card and its only the phone company that loses out.

there are loads of scams out there, plus with all these peak rate txt and phone numbers you could get well and truely screwed !

  [DELETED] 22:40 10 Nov 2003

One phrase struck me in your original posting ... the phone company stating that the calls were to his imei number ..... that number is the serial number of the actual phone unit itself which would indicate (at least to the phone company)that the sim card is not being cloned.

  [DELETED] 23:08 10 Nov 2003

All phones have an imei number

Why LEXIELOU have you not taken the phone off of your son does he need a mobile phone?

Please dont get me wrong I do not mean that in a horibble way

Numbers can be punched into the phone without knowing tht you have done it....I have by accident dialled 999 & hit send with my old phone, its easily done.

My youngest lad has called people when he has got hold of my phone without me knowing, its only when someone has called me back that I have realised what has happened

Your son may have called these numbers without knowing he has done so

Like someone has said use pay as u go, once the credit is used thats it till top up time & hide the top up card away where only u know where it is

  [DELETED] 23:29 10 Nov 2003

First things would be advised to pay the monthly rental and the cost of the non-text calls. This shows that you are not avoiding payment but disputing what you consider to be an unwarranted amount.

However there is a slight problem which may need clarification. I'm fairly sure from the information that you have given, that both cards have not been cloned, especially the second one. the fact that there are no spurious calls to far-flung lands also indicates that there would appear to be no cloning. How long was it, from your son receiving the new card, was the first text message received? Did both the SIM cards come from the same supplier? Are all the texts from the same company? If they are try to get the telephone number of the comapny as a call may shed some light.

You need to ensure that the 'normal payment' is in the post and then speak to the Company and ask to speak directly to their fraud department as a matter of urgency. It will be of use to have all the relevant dates (when 2nd card was bought, when first text message came through, both telephone nos., copy of the bills) to hand and arranged logically. You will need to insist that they thoroughly check that the texts were being sent to the correct phone number.

If it was just one phone number that was receiving the messages there would be a good chance of fraud or possibly cloning...however to have the same happen to a second number, that I assume few people knew, raises an eyebrow. From getting the new SIM to receiving the first text was how long? If it was a day or so then I feel that someone could be 'messing' with the phone. If both SIMs came from the same shop then one would have to take that into account as well.

A visit to the telephone watchdog site will be useful (ICSTIS)click here and how to compalin is click here and the online complaints form is click here . knowing that e-mithers can take a long time to reply to I would suggest that a first strike across the bows should be a telephone call for further guidance about complaining. click here

It would also be a good idea to check all outgoing messages on the phone to see if the text service was activated. The Company should be able to do this or a quick butcher's by yourself would do, although text messages can be erased from a phone. Text messages can be [rinted out by the phone company. Don't let them try to tell you they can't, I have had a lot of experience with text message retrieval and EVERYTHING is recorded.

To precis the above....1) send 'normal' payment to show willing and that you are not trying to avoid payment.

2) Your next stop should be the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

3) phone the Telecom Company and insist on speaking to their fraud dept. (have all info to hand)

4) telephone the Ombudsman's office and enquire how to register a letter of dissatisfaction.

5) I would try to do the above by Friday.

6) Post in this thread to keep us updated.


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