Brothers Convicted in Mobile Phone Scam
Three brothers in the U.K. will be heading to prison after being convicted in a widespread insurance scam that affected thousands of people, reports the Coventry Telegraph. The Roderick brothers, Carl, Paul and Alun, were found guilty of swindling unsuspecting customers out of more than £187,000, and they used mobile phones as a way to deceive their victims.
Prosecutors told the jury that the three brothers managed to violate individuals' cell phone privacy by acquiring numbers from two mobile phone contractors, 02 and The Carphone Warehouse. They then placed cold calls to these individuals, urging them to take part in bogus mobile phone insurance policies, which they claimed were worth an average of £80. The plaintiffs even had an office and staff members, the news source reports.
"They took genuine insurance policies from legitimate companies from the internet and copied them, turning them into a sham," said prosecutor Barry Berlin. "They trained staff to lie to the public to sell what were effectively worthless pieces of paper."
In some cases, they told customers they had paid too much for their legitimate insurance policies and promised them refunds if they switched. Instead, when customers provided bank account information, they stole from them instead. There were also victims who refused to buy new policies but still had money pilfered from their account.
While these three criminals have been brought to justice, the case should serve as a warning for mobile phone users. There are many scams that specifically target smart phone owners in attempts to compromise their mobile security.
Keeping an additional phone number may be one way to reduce the likelihood that your main number will be stolen by scammers. According to the New York Times, users should also keep an eye out for phony text message charges or "rogue mobile applications."
When downloading mobile apps, be sure to read reviews and research them online. Only purchase apps from trustworthy websites, and read over privacy policies to ensure you know what sort of data the program may access.
It's also wise to regularly review bank statements so that you can catch any false charges before they get out of hand. There are various apps and programs for phones that can also help enhance your mobile internet security. Never share your phone number with those you don't know well, and be sure to password protect your phone in case it falls into the wrong hands.