Online Dating Scam: The Cell Phone farmer

The Scam: Gathering your Cell Phone Number for Resale (Phishing)

Well technically, they are farming cell phone numbers. Once you text or call them, you might get an auto response, or just voice mail, but they have what they want. Unless you have blocked your caller id (*67), they have your cell number. Most likely, the collector is going to sell the list of numbers to other spammers, but they could just be spammers themselves.

You have probably seen them, they take all different forms. They are on CL, in the posts, and in the emails that you get. I have found them on BackPage as well.  Usually they ‘encode’ their number by spelling it out  (e.g. for one 2, ate, 3 fiv…).

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Detecting a Cell Phone Farmer

So how do you know? If you do a reverse phone look up on whitepages, you will see the provider of the service. If it is any one of these it probably is a cell phone farmer.

  • Proximity Mobility
  • Jasper Wireless
  • Bandwidth
  • Twillo
  • Onvoy

Each of these companies specialize in integrating cellular systems with other technology, like in somebody’s server. These companies DO NOT market / provide cellular accounts to individuals. Mostly, they provide the integration services. Some provide cell phones to companies.

I have called 4 of the Proximity Mobile numbers from a landline phone that cannot be spammed, and each time it is the same woman’s voice, quite sweet, “Hi its me, leave a message and I’ll call you back.”

It is a somewhat sophisticated operation. Somebody has paid to integrate computer systems in to these services.  If it was just an individual spammer, the technology needed to reply with spammy message exists on a cell phone.  This is why I conclude that they have bigger plans, such as selling cell phone number lists to other spammers.

Note, that I am not claiming that the above is any sort of comprehensive list. When you do a reverse lookup on the number, if it is not a company you recognize (e.g. Sprint, Verizon, ATT etc.) or a service you recognize (Pinger, Google Voice) then you need to do an additional check to learn about the provider of the cell phone service.

Bottom line, if someone sends you an email and it seems authentic enough to look at, when you do a reverse number look up, pay attention to who provides the service. If it an integration services company, Delete; Next…

Scam Phone Numbers

Just a start.  As I run across them I will post it here.  If you have run in to a scam phone number, send it to me, I will check it out.

  • 724-540-0443
  • 724-726-6425
  • 813-337-2475
  • 804-491-0748

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