When in doubt, don’t call back. More so if you happen to be an Airtel subscriber and have a missed call from a +92 number. Cellphone major Bharti Airtel told TOI that many of its subscribers are receiving fraudulent calls — usually a missed call — presumably from across the border. “Callers often call back thinking 92 is a Tata Indicom number, overlooking the fact that +92 is Pakistan’s country code”, a company spokesperson said.
On returning the missed call, the person at the other end would pretend to be an Airtel staffer and inform the caller that he/she has won a lottery/award conducted by the company. The fraudster would then attempt to dupe the customer into sharing sensitive personal information about his/her voter ID, PAN, bank account and credit card data and demand a commission (usually DTH recharge vouchers) to receive the winnings. “We issued an advisory which is up on our website to protect all mobile/landline users from falling victim to these malicious activities. We believe it is best to avoid responding to suspicious missed calls from unknown numbers,” the spokesperson emphasized.
Deepening the mystery is the fact that some Airtel cellphone subscribers making calls to Pakistan have been getting an SMS soon after informing them that they have just made a call to a number beginning with 0092 and advising them to exercise caution while calling unknown numbers and refrain from sharing personal details. While such SMSs might appear to be automated messages sent by the service provider on a new security diktat from Indian intelligence agencies, the truth is, there is no diktat of the kind.