The Curse of Call Forwarding

I am writing this and you may feel that its a page out of “Savdhaan India” or any of the crime shows that are quite popular on TV channels. So here goes the story, it started sometime back in December 2014. I get a call from a lady somewhere in Tamil Nadu who starts shouting that someone has taken her credit card details and used it to do some transactions. Throughout the call she was in accusing mode and I tried to calm her down and tell her she has called up a wrong number. That afternoon I received another 4-5 calls saying that they had seen a missed call from my number and calling to check back. I was already little worried as to how people are calling like that and all of them seems to be genuine people calling and it was not some wrong number. That same night I got another call while driving back home from a lady in Bangalore and again she started out with same premise. I got suspicious and actually called that lady back and what she told me was quite astonishing. She told that she never dialed my number, she was dialing a different number and that was getting routed to me. I asked the lady to give the number to which she was dialing and asked both my brother and wife to call to that number.Sure enough both of them reached me when they dialed the other number.

I thought that is some kind of cheating case and hence went straight to the police station and as usual it was difficult to make anyone understand the problem I was facing. It was already 8:30 PM and shift was changing for the Police guys and hence the ASI just called me up and asked me couple of questions and said someone else will come who will listen to my problem. I waited patiently for another half an hour but nobody cared.Finally some constable came to me and told why I was waiting. They can’t do anything and asked me come tomorrow and meet some other person. So I came back home and the calls never stopped. They came late into the night that day.So next day I went to office first thing I wanted to do was to get someone who knows better Kannada than me and can converse with the police guys. A colleague of mine offered help and we went down to the police station and were able to get an acknowledgement which I had written and ASI just signed on that piece of paper. I had done what I could do from my side and came back to office. The calls never stopped, sometimes I used to pick and later I used to just leave it as nobody would care to listen.

I wanted to understand what was going on here. As I had mentioned calling back the lady and she told me that someone called her up posing like SBI Credit Card Call Center and asked her details of the credit card. She claimed that she never told any of the details but they were able to use her card to do some transactions I don’t know how true was that as anyone would need Credit Card Number, CVV number and Expiry Date of the card to do any transaction.Nevertheless I got that someone is fooling around people by posing like a SBI Credit Card Customer Care and getting their card details, using it for some transactions. And when these guys call back to that number after finding out that they had lost money, those calls were getting routed to me.I looked up as to what may be the cause for that and found out that each phone has a very nice feature called “Call Forwarding” and anyone can enable that on Phone Handset for anyone without getting permission of any kind. Now many people would have done that for their wives or kids or anyone they want their call forwarding enabled for.

I now had all that was happening to me, I had the number from which calls were being forwarded (the guy that was doing that was clever, the calls that were getting forwarded never took the normal time as well as normal procedure of telling that call is getting forwarded message). I called up Airtel who was my service provider and the Call Center guys are as usual morons who don’t want to understand your problem. I spent more than 3 hours trying to make them understand what was happening here but nothing happened.I wrote mails to the Appellate Authority of Airtel with the Police Acknowledgement copy and finally someone from Airtel called up. They said they will look into the matter but they can help only if the other Guy is on Airtel network. I had already found out that the number

Reliance Karnataka Number and hence Airtel guys just said they can’t help and they will try to talk to Reliance over this. Meanwhile I had also sent out mail to Reliance Customer Care, TRAI and Cyber Crime Cell but haven’t received any sort of help. The Airtel guys again called up and told that they had talked to Reliance and had resolved the issue and now the cell was switched off. I though they have taken cognizance of the issue and took the number out of network on my complaint.But that was probably too much to ask. There were no calls for two days but then again it all started. I again went to the Police Station and nothing has moved.They were still trying to get the details of the person from the number I had given. The day I went again the police guy again sent out a mail just to get all the details of the phone number but I was not very sure if that would really help as that guy would not be using a number registered on his own. I asked the police guy that this guys will not be using a number registered properly as there are all kind of stuff available in market like “pre-approved SIM” but he wanted to do that first. I called him up after that but it was same time when the Bangalore 2014 blast had happened and my case was really very menial for them to even look at.

I sent out a mail to Appelate Authority of Reliance. Meanwhile I tried calling Reliance Customer Care but with great difficulty I was able to reach them as I am not direct customer. Finally I got a call from them and that guy was from Reliance Technical team who also told same stuff that they can’t help me out here. I got totally mad at him and shouted like crazy and asked him to give in written that he can’t help me. I was down and out but that same guy called me again and told me that he is going to do something unofficially for me but he cannot give in writing that my problem is resolved. I told him please do something so that calls are not forwarded to me.And yes he did something and calls went away. I was relieved and thought that it has been resolved. I kept calling that number and nobody picked up. One day someone picked up but probably that person was like me to who number was just used for call forwarding. Anyways I just left it and thought as long as I out of this that will be okay.

But luck had something else for me, today it is 14th Feb 2015 and its Valentine’s Day. I got a present and calls have started again. I am helpless and don’t know what to do now. I don’t want to start going again pillar to post as I know nothing is going to work out. I don’t know what on the earth is the probability that someone randomly chooses to forward calls to a number which is mine. That is going to be mind boggling number in probability but probably rare events do happens, people do become multi-millionaire after winning lotteries. So probability has worked for me, alas a wrong way.

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