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Cell Phone Fraud

Apr 20, 2008
In today's marketplace, there are so many cell phones and cell phone service providers that many consumers do not know one from another. This has led to the crime of cell phone fraud becoming more frequent.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) defines cell phone fraud as the unauthorized use, tampering, or manipulation of a cell phone or service. As this crime began to rise in the 1990s, the Wireless Telephone Protection Act was passed in 1998 to criminalize the use, possession, manufacture, or sale of hardware or software used to clone fraudulent cell phones. This cloning is a type of cell phone fraud.

Every cell phone has a unique factory-set electronic serial number (ESN) and its own telephone number. Certain people will illegally monitor radio transmissions from the cell phones of legitimate subscribers. These individual then can create a cloned cell phone, which is a cell phone that has been reprogrammed to transmit the serial number and phone number of another legitimate cell phone. As both the cell phone and its clone have the same identifying numbers, the cellular system can not distinguish the difference. The legitimate subscriber who owns the original cell phone will end up getting billed for calls from both the phones. The agency warns that if when you receive your monthly cell phone bill and there are charges on it that you do not recognize, you should contact your cell phone service provider immediately.

The cell phone manufacturers are helping in the fight against cell phone cloning by making improvements on their products to make the cell phones more resistant to reprogramming. These companies have had quite a bit of success with their efforts and some of them feel that the problem should be totally resolved in a few years..

Another type of cell phone fraud is subscriber fraud. This is basically another form of identity theft. The perpetrator uses someone else's name and social security number to purchase a cell phone and sets up an account with a cell phone service provider. The charges for the phone and any calls that the person makes is billed to the person whose name is on the account. If you are the victim of subscriber fraud you should report it to the authorities immediately a well as contacting your cell phone company, although it will probably be a long and complicated process to get the situation straightened out.

As with any other types of identity theft, there are precautions that you can take. You should shred any documents that contain your personal information, such as old check stubs and bank statements. It is a proven fact that many of these thieves retrieve the information that they need to obtain someone else's identity by going through that person's trash. You should also avoid giving out your personal information to any company or Web site that asks for it, usually under the guise of a charity or a sweepstakes contest. You may also want to refrain from carrying your social security card around with you in your purse or wallet as well as any other documents that may have this all-important number written on them in case your purse or wallet is lost or stolen. If the thief does not have your social security number, he cannot steal your identity as easily.

Cell phone cloning has been decreasing with the help of the manufacturers but subscriber fraud is happening more and more frequently. Again, keeping your personal information protected can prevent you from being a victim of these identity thieves.
About the Author
You just got a new cell phone or you want to personalize your current cell phone with the latest in cell phone accessories. Visit www.WonderfulCell.com today to find the cell phone accessories you need!
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